The Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Hala El-Said, has made a recent move to provide better opportunities for women working in the Ministry. By adding the Equal Opportunity Unit, renowned Egyptian economist and academic, El-Said, hopes to help women gain and maintain their rights. She has stressed the importance of this unit in establishing equal chances for women across various Ministry departments.
The Equal Opportunity Unit, known as decision No. 9 of 2021, aims at providing information about women working in the Ministry and its affiliated agencies in the hope of solving whatever gender-based issues they may be facing. Its primary duties will be the preparation and provision of databases with information about the workers; these databases will be divided, analysed, enumerated, and studied in order for the unit to provide the needed solutions to issues of gender discrimination and inequality.
Moreover, the unit will prepare reports that document information about the lives of women working in the Ministry. Through training and educational programmes, the Ministry also hopes to aid women in maintaining a balance between professional and familial duties, keeping more women in the workforce, and finding solutions to any issues they might face in that regard.
The unit was established as a step towards achieving Egypt’s Sustainable Development Report goals for 2030, the third scenario of which entertains the notion of Female Empowerment. The report was developed as a collaboration between Pardee and UNDP to evaluate Egypt’s development and provide a series of scenarios for its continued progress. The report’s fifth goal is the achievement of gender equality and women empowerment, the main aim of Decision No. 9.
On recent occasions, Minister El-Said discussed the importance of cooperation between the Ministry’s sectors in fulfilling the goals of the Equal Opportunity Unit, which will include follow-ups and evaluations on behalf of all parties involved. Additionally, she stressed the significance of adequate preparation in helping the unit remain successful.
On the 22nd of February, a meeting was held at the Ministry of Planning’s headquarters to officially launch the unit. Headed by Shaimaa Serraj, the current director of the Equal Opportunities Unit, the meeting brought together representatives from each of the Ministry’s department and affiliations to discuss the goals and visions of the unit, as well as distribute tasks. During the meeting, Serraj discussed the reasons behind the issuance of Decision No. 9, stating that its aims include promoting equality between Ministry employees of both genders as well as integrating a healthier gender culture into the Ministry’s sectors.
Hopefully, the establishment of the Equal Opportunity Unit is one of many steps taken by Egyptian officials to promote gender equality across the country. Its anticipated success will surely be part and parcel of the promotion of equality in Egypt.