(Cairo March 10th, 2015) The Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, in cooperation with Women’s Coordination for Mass Action and The Arab Consultancy Office, launched a press conference under the title “2014, The Year of Unfulfilled Promises”. The conference aimed at presenting and analyzing Egyptian Center’s for Women’s Rights report on women’s status in 2014.
Ms. Nehad Abol-Komsan started the conference by presenting the report methodology. The research methodology relies on monitoring and communicating with media, analyzing the international development reports and Egypt’s ranking in these reports. This was followed by the ECWR’s staff presenting the annual report which consists of four main chapters.
Firstly: Civil and Political Rights
This section tackles women’s role in 4 central issues; roadmap, leadership positions, and the upcoming parliament and freedom of expression.
Secondly: Economic and Social Rights
This section examines the most important developments in 4 main areas which are the labour market, health, education and sports.
Thirdly: violence against women
This section tackles violence against women; specifically addressing sexual harassment and the development of the policies to counter it.
Fourthly and lastly: Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR) efforts
This section discusses ECWR efforts throughout the year in its framework of protecting women’s rights and promoting women’s empowerment.
Following the presentation, Dr. Salwa El-Antary analyzed the economic status of women over the year of 2014, while Ms. Nehad Abol-Komsan analyzed the political status of women over the same year.
The conference was concluded by a call for requesting a meeting with the President to present the status of women and call for the implementation of the unfulfilled promises for women.
These promises can be summarized as follows;
On the political level
· Stress on the importance of adopting an electoral system that ensures a representation for women of no less than 30% on both the party lists and for independent candidates in all elected councils.
· Empower women in political parties, which should not be limited to a committee or a secretariat or a post. Political parties should work on empowering women to participate effectively on all the party levels. Steps should be taken to compel parties to include at least 35% of their candidates to be women in elected councils.
· Empower and train young leaders who are willing to participate/run for elections.
On the economic level
· Study and evaluate women’s contribution in the economy and in the formal and informal labor market. Evaluate the contribution of the housewife in the economy and provide her with the medical and social insurance.
· Emphasize on the importance of taking the necessary measures to ensure that women hold all positions to pursue the principle of equal citizenship and participation on the basis of competence and professionalism.
· Eliminate discrimination against women in the labor market and emphasis on providing them with job and training opportunities on the basis of equality.
· Empower female breadwinners and enable them through small projects ensuring equality in tax exemptions.
· Provide social services supporting working women such as good nurseries, which protects their reproductive role.
On the educational level
· Modify school curricula to be free from discrimination against women and make sure they stress on the value of respecting women.
· Empower women to hold decision-making positions at the level of forming curricula at the Ministry of Education.
· Stress on the importance of eradicating female illiteracy and put fines on school dropouts.
· Include a gender-perspective in the curricula stressing on good female models who participated in the public domain.
· Include human rights generally with a special focus on women’s rights in the university curricula.
On the legal level
· Ensure that laws are free from all sorts of discrimination against women.
· Amend Family and Personal Status Law to align them with the principles of Justice and Equality of Shari’a, and form the basis for a shared and equal responsibility in marital relations.
· Insure law enforcement in all cases and with all the individuals and groups, supporting the principle of equality before the law and putting an end to practices of favoritism.
· Increase the penalties for violence crimes in all its forms, particularly rape, sexual harassment and domestic violence.
· Reform the Family Court.
On the media level
· Develop a strategy tackling women’s issues. The main aim of the strategy is to change the discriminatory culture and perceptions of inferiority of women in both the media and in the society as well.
· Eliminate forms of stereotyping of women and draw the attention to the true image of women and confirm their presence as political experts and lawyers to stress on the image of women as active participants in the public sphere.
· Activate the role of the media through publishing women’s issues and stressing on their roles in various revolutions such as the revolution in Algeria and France and in the process of rebuilding Germany after losing in the Second World War.
· Cooperate with media through providing them with accurate information and not only monitor what they present.
· Establish a partnership between civil society organizations and the media.
On the religious level
· Emphasize the role of the modern religious discourse that addresses interactions, ethics and social relations, and which establishes values and principles of human rights and respect what is different.
· Share and strengthen values of respect for the other and positive religious ethics in the society.
· Improve the religious discourse covering women’s issues.
On the level of Egyptian conditions abroad
· Activate the role played by embassies and consulates in protecting Egyptians abroad, particularly women.
· Prepare women who are traveling for work abroad and make sure they have their contracts and of safety of their working conditions.