Fatma Yasin

Eliminating Violence against Women

Through joint UN programmes, UN Women Egypt provides support to capacity development of local authorities and service providers to respond to and prevent all forms of violence against violence against women (VAW). UN Women seeks to contribute to improved gender responsive public infrastructure that incorporates practical measures to increase safety for women and girls. Furthermore, UN Women supports capacity development of local government agencies to prevent and respond to sexual violence in coordination with women’s organizations, civil society and other key stakeholders through improved knowledge, skills and attitudes of duty bearers and service providers regarding sexual violence in public spaces.


Sexual violence in public spaces is an everyday occurrence for women and girls around the world – in urban and rural areas, in developed and developing countries.   Women and girls experience and fear various types of sexual violence in public spaces, from sexual harassment to rape- whether on streets, public transport and parks, in and around schools and workplaces,, or in their own neighborhoods. This reality reduces women and girls’ freedom of movement denying them the same opportunity and rights to the city as men and boys enjoy. It reduces their ability to participate in school, in formal or informal employment, and in public life. It limits their access to essential services, and enjoyment of cultural and recreational opportunities. It also negatively impacts their health and well-being.

The Cairo Safe City (SC) Programme is part of UN Women’s Safe Cities Global Initiative, spanning more than 20 cities. The Cairo SC Programme aims to prevent and reduce sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence in public spaces in three intervention areas in the city: Ezbet Al-Haggannah, Mansheyat Nasser and Imbaba, and to scale up the “Safe City” for women and girls evidence based and human rights based approaches in other cities.

The Programme (2011-2018) was launched with the support of the USAID, European Union, and Spanish Cooperation (AECID) and involves a strong partnership with the government of Egypt, grassroots women, NGOs, UN Women, UN Habitat, other UN Agencies, the private sector and other partners.

Women’s Political Empowerment Programme

The Women’s Political Empowerment Programme is one of the three comprehensive intervention areas under UN Women Egypt country strategy for the transitional and post transitional phases of the revolution of the 25th of January 2011.The programme is designed to assist the Egyptian government in fulfilling its obligations with regards to gender mainstreaming and gender equality (GE) under the various international declarations, as well as respond to the challenges facing Egypt’s transition towards a democracy in which women are empowered to act as equal citizens, and accordingly are engaged in all levels of decision making both in the private and public spheres. It strengthens the capacity of women groups and civil society organizations to advocate for constitutional and legislative amendments that reflect a women rights agenda, while at the same time enhances the ability of these organizations and groups to monitor the performance of women voters and candidates in the elections.

Women’s Economic Empowerment

Women's participation's in the labor market in Egypt is among the lowest in the world. Young women (aged 18-29) represent 18.5% of the total Egyptian workforce compared to over 50% representation of young men. The informal sector currently represents the main source of employment for new labor market entrants. Women's engagement in the informal sector differs from men, however; whereas most men in the informal sector are either wage-workers or employers, women are primarily non-wage workers contributing in various ways to household income or a family business, but with minimal safety nets. Egyptian women are undermined and constricted by cultural and social norms and conditions which make them poorer, less able to benefit from the rewards and protection of labor markets, and are more burdened by unpaid work that often goes unsupported and invisible to the state and its social policies. Developing economies, such as Egypt, are still striving to provide specialized services that support working women, especially among the most financially vulnerable, such as affordable and accessible pre-schools, or home-care systems for the elderly or the sick.

Investing in women’s economic empowerment sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth. Women make enormous contributions to economies, whether in businesses, on farms, as entrepreneurs or employees, or by doing unpaid care work at home. But they also remain disproportionately affected by poverty, discrimination and exploitation. Gender discrimination means women often end up in insecure, low-wage jobs, and constitute a small minority of those in senior positions. It curtails access to economic assets such as land and loans. It also limits participation in shaping economic and social policies. And, because women perform the bulk of household work, they often have little time left to pursue economic opportunities.

Through an array of programmes working on different levels, UN Women Egypt has been a strong advocate for securing women’s equal rights and participation in the formal and informal economic sectors. UN Women is working on interventions related to job creation and a package of financial and non-financial services that will enable women to have proper financial evaluation of their participation in the agricultural sector. The programme is operating in both Upper and Lower Egypt with focus on asset transfer, access to credit and a saving scheme that will allow women to (i) be financially rewarded for their work; (ii) have a sense of economic security and (iii) gain the skills and know how to run a business.


The Salheya Initiative has been identified as an opportunity to provide a demonstration model for the integrated strategy for enhancing women economic participation, as well as for scaling up the gender equity seal certification process. In partnership with the Ministry of Man Power and the Social Research Center of the AUC, the project aims to enhance the participation of young unemployed women from medium and higher education in the economy and improving their security and rights.


Ended in 2013, the purpose of the project was to promote viable equitable partnership between small farmers and private sector investors in efficient pro-poor horticulture value chains in 3 locations in the poorest Upper Egyptian Governorates. The program targeted women in Luxor and Beni Suef providing them with business development services and trainings on entrepreneurial development mainly on livestock including caretaking, reproduction, feeding and health checks. The project was able to establish the first 2 women led cooperatives including 25 women in each of the governorates.


Seeking to promote women’s access to employment, training and career advancement in private firms, the Gender Equity SEAL in Egypt is modeled after the Mexico Gender Equity Project (Generosidad – Generosity) that produced very encouraging results. GES activities have been tailored to Egyptian needs and realities.   The SEAL is an integrated process for firms who choose to establish gender equity in the labor place comprising four main steps: 1) self-assessment, 2) training, 3) auditing, and 4) evaluation. The application of this model, makes it possible to visualize the inequalities of men and women within an organization that are not perceived as gender inequity in order to establish strategically linked equity measures through affirmative actions, whereby these inequalities are corrected and a satisfactory work environment and more motivated staff are encouraged.

Securing Rights and Improving Livelihoods of Women

The EU- UN Women Programme "Securing Rights and Improving Livelihoods for Women" will contribute to an overall goal and 3 key areas: 

Key area 1: “Increased leadership and Participation of Women in the Public Sphere

The main focus will be on women’s civic engagement and their ability to access their rights as equal citizens. For millions of poor women living in Egypt to exercise their rights as full citizens without identity cards (IDs) and birth certificates is impossible. In the past, there have been successful initiatives supporting the issuance of ID cards to women. However, the number of Egyptian women without ID cards remains at a high of 5 million according to the Civil Status Organization (CSO)/ National Registrar of the Ministry of Interior (MOI). The national ID card is required to fully exercise citizenship rights, including voting and applying for work in government jobs or in the formal private sector. The ID cards are also required to gain access to important public services such as health, social insurance, as well as to access finance and business development services (BDS).  The nationally-led Women’s Citizenship Initiative (WCI), supported by the action, aims to increase women’s public participation and enhance their economic status.

Key Area 2: Increased Economic Security and Autonomy of Marginalized Women in Upper Egypt/ Rural Areas

The immediate objective is to expand economic opportunities for women aged 18-45 years of age to ensure a sustainable source of income for their households. The direct beneficiaries of the programme are 8000 poor women across five governorates (Sharkeya, Beheira, Minya, Assuit and Beni Suef ) who will benefit from access to financial (i.e. assets, micro credit and saving schemes) and non-financial services (i.e. business development and advisory services and access to markets). In addition, the indirect beneficiaries, who are the dependents/family members of targeted poor women reached, will be around 18,000 people. The selection of areas of intervention takes into consideration existing and/ or planned projects of the government and other development partners, with the aim of building synergetic relationships that would result in higher impact at both the household and community levels. The three main components under this intervention area are: A Safety Net component, an Enterprise Development component, and a Capacity Development component.

Key Area   3: Reduced Prevalence of Violence against Women & Girls in Public Spaces

Despite the variety of opportunities offered by urban life in Egypt, women and girls living in urban centers experience almost on a daily basis a higher risk of exposure to various forms of violence, including sexual harassment and rape.  Such violence infringes on the human rights of women, their personal freedom, and it takes away from their ability to walk freely, enjoy their cities, and feel safe within their communities.  The main objectives of the Safe Cities are to provide the relevant institutions in Egypt with the skills and knowledge to respond to, and prevent, Violence Against Women and Girls (VAW&G)  in public spaces, while also reducing the prevalence of VAW & G in implementation sites.  The defining aspect of the Safe Cities approach is to make a significant contribution in one of the most neglected strategic programming areas, which is the prevention of violence against women. The focus will be on protecting women and girls from violence within the context of a Safe Cities Model which will be piloted within the Greater Cairo Region as well as in the urban areas of Giza and Qalyubiya. Three areas have been selected for program implementation: Ezbet EL Haganna, Mansheyat Nasser and Embaba, while an additional three will be used as the control group: Al Salam Al Sharkeya, Al Ebagaya and Boulak El Dakrour. According to a 2007 study by the Social Research Center (SRC) of the American University in Cairo and UN-HABITAT all areas are located in deprived neighborhoods. Most experiences to date have focused on justice, care and support for survivors. As such, the Safe Cities is poised to make a valuable contribution to the efforts to end violence against women. The central tenet of the Safe Cities effort is empowering impoverished communities via the leadership of women and youth at the grassroots level. Moreover, the programme seeks to achieve a long-term transformative impact in the way urban safety is conceptualized, moving beyond crime prevention to broader notions of tolerance, co-existence and non-discrimination stemming from a deepened understanding of how the use of, and access to, public spaces relates to citizens’ rights, equality and participation.  LINE-HEIGHT:20px;

Human Security Trust Fund

The program will focus on the idea of human security through economic, community and personal security in target communities especially marginalized groups such as women and youth, through creation of more and better employment opportunities and increased employability of the local labor force as well as activities to develop communities’ social capital, enhance cohesion and inclusiveness. UN Women will focus on the empowerment of poor women that are traditionally excluded from access to financial services but have the potential of becoming entrepreneurs. The economic security of vulnerable female-headed households will be enhanced through (i) scaling up the Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLA) scheme (a self-managed and self-capitalized microfinance methodology) , already introduced in other Upper Egyptian communities by several NGOs, to 8,000 women; and (ii) the transfer of productive assets to at least 3,000 women (of whose at least 1,000 women aged 16-30) within selected VSLA groups willing to engage in economic activities. The project would not directly finance VSLAs; rather, it would create the conditions and deliver the necessary technical assistance for VSLAs to be formed and sustained, and for their members to finance them

Gender Responsive National Planning and Budgeting

The Gender Responsive Budgeting Initiative (GRBI) is a joint initiative of UN Women, and Ministry of Finance, National Council for Women, Ministry of Planning, and the Institute of National Planning. It is government planning, programming and budgeting that contributes to the advancement of gender equality and the fulfillment of women's rights. It entails identifying and reflecting needed interventions to address gender gaps in sector and local government policies, plans and budgets. GRB also aims to analyze the gender-differentiated impact of revenue-raising policies and the allocation of domestic resources and Official Development Assistance. In addition to building accountability mechanisms to translate international and policy commitments of gender equality.

GBRI has managed to institutionalize itself in the Ministry of Finance through the Equal Opportunities Unit (EOU) that is affiliated to the office of the Minister. EOU helped build a cadre of trainers inside the ministry, providing training and capacity building to more than 300 budget officers in 20 governorates on how to calculate equal opportunity related indicators. In addition to track, monitor, and evaluate national and local public budgets from a gender and poverty perspective and produce policy recommendations on equal opportunity for women in the budget, create insight of equal opportunities in the national budget revenues and expenditures and facilitate transparency in budget formulation processes.

EOU implemented “The Equal Opportunities of Women in the National Budget of Egypt” project from 2006-2011. The project aimed at assessing and testing gender budgeting in different economic sectors, reviewing equal opportunity aspects in the Ministry of Finance, facilitating transparency in discussing budget preparation and implementation, and producing policy recommendations to promote equal opportunity in the budget. EOU has worked also on “The Gender Responsive Social Budgeting Project” from December 2010 to December 2012, which focused on transforming budgets to become responsive to the needs of vulnerable groups, especially rural women and children.

GBRI succeeded in producing gender analysis in the national budget and national development plan, which are published by the MOF. The initiative has also supported the amendment of Law 53, which affirms in Article 16 that the principles of gender responsive and performance based budgeting are to be upheld in Egypt’s budgets. In addition to, finalizing the capacity development of all local budget employees in 27 governorates in the 5 sectors of (Health- Education- Manpower- Social security- Food security) and launching the first Arabic e-learning platform.