The 'Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator' involves public and private sector heavyweights, all throwing in their forte into the mix to integrate Egyptian women into the labour force through a platform that is unprecedented in MENA and Africa.
Some crises serve as equalizers, but others merely expose and perpetuate inequalities - those who are ahead are able to more easily survive, while others still face the same barriers that have always been there. And when it comes to Egypt's gender gap in employment, the Coronavirus hasn't made anything easier. As a result, the Ministry of International Cooperation, the National Council for Women and the World Economic Forum have launched a nationwide model called ‘Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator’, the first of its kind in the MENA region.
The accelerator programme will be focused on four main overarching objectives: equipping women for a post-COVID job market, closing the gender wage and pay gap between and within sectors, paving the way for more women to actively take part of the country’s labour force and strengthening the bid for more women to advance into managerial and leadership roles.
According to the World Bank, women account for 23.61% of the active labour force in Egypt as of 2019. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) states that raising the female labour force participation rate to equate the male level, coupled with access to employment opportunities, can elevate the economy with a 34% increase to the GDP. The Model aims to integrate and empower women to become active participants in the job market.
“The Gender Accelerator will bring together multi-stakeholder actors across the public and private sectors to generate local insight, develop local needs-based action plans and drive their execution,” H.E Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, said.
Among the private sector leaders are major platforms such as the Commercial International Bank (CIB), Qala’a Holdings, Travco Group International, and Delta Investment Holdings, all of which will engage with 100+ private companies in various industries, along with civil organisations that champion policy changes, to create a multi-faceted holistic platform that would have all hands on deck.