Press release: High-level meeting kicks-off Joint UN Programme on advancing work for women in Egypt, Jordan and Palestine

Date: Sunday, October 6, 2019

High-level government representatives from Egypt, Jordan and Palestine attended the first steering committee meeting of the programme “Promoting Productive Employment and Decent Work for Women in Egypt, Jordan and Palestine”. Photo: UN Women\Mohsen Nabil

Partners to the joint programme “Promoting Productive Employment and Decent Work for Women in Egypt, Jordan and Palestine” gathered for the first steering committee meeting on 03 October 2019 in Cairo, Egypt to validate the programme’s proposed approach and mark the start of its implementation.

Supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and implemented jointly by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and UN Women, the programme seeks to support women to benefit from opportunities for better jobs, security at workplaces, equal access to professional development, social protection for families and better prospects for personal development and integration in society. 

The kick-off meeting was hosted by H.E. Dr. Maya Morsy, President of the National Council for Women (NCW) in Egypt, in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Manpower, and was attended by high-level government representatives of the three partner countries, as well as representatives of employers’ and workers’ organizations, the civil society, and the implementing UN agencies.

In her welcoming remarks, H.E. Dr. Maya Morsy stressed the importance of awareness-raising as a key tool to promote equal opportunities for women and addressing the behaviors and customs that negatively affect women's ability to play an active role in society. She also stressed the importance of close cooperation and coordination with all stakeholders in each implementing country.

Mr. Moez Doraid, Regional Director a.i of UN Women Arab States, highlighted: “Under the leadership of national institutions and together with ILO, Sida and other partners, we commit through this programme and others, to deliver on the promise of the first gender-equal generation in history - a generation with women and men equally contributing, and benefiting from, development and prosperity”.

At the meeting, ILO and UN Women presented the key findings of the inception phase that aimed to validate the programme’s approach and tailor its services to each of the three partner countries followed and concluded with the discussion on the next steps in the programme to achieve its objectives.

The programme is expected to contribute to at least 12 reforms to the regulatory or legal framework which respond to and promote gender equality; support governments, employers, workers, CSOs, media, and academia to increasingly promote gender equality and women's empowerment, and help 2-5 per centage points increase of women in management positions in the public and private sector. Moreover, the programme expects at least a 10 per centage points positive change in gender parity in staffing in the private sector, at least 87 new companies committing to implement gender equality policies in the in the Middle East and North Africa region through the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) as a platform to mobilize business action to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment at the workplace, marketplace and communities.

“The programme represents a strong convergence of ILO and UN Women’s mandates by ensuring decent work principles are embedded into a framework for women’s economic empowerment. ILO’s Conventions represent not only commitment to gender equality in the world of work, but practical benchmarks and guidance on how to achieve this, whether it is legal protection, fair remuneration, parental leave, safety and health, childcare, or protection against violence and harassment at work”, said Mr. Frank Hagemann, ILO’s Deputy Regional Director for Arab States.

“Sweden’s investment in this programme comes from our strong commitment to achieve gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights and drives from our Swedish foreign policy to strengthen the economic empowerment of women and girls and their influence through the promotion of non-discriminatory legislation”, said Mr. Peter Lundberg, Head of Regional Development Cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa at the Swedish Embassy in Amman.

The joint programme contributes to Sweden’s new Strategy for development cooperation for global gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights 2018-2022; is fully aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 8 on gender equality and decent work and economic growth. It contributes to the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discriminations Against Women, international labour standards, as well as national development strategies and plans, including the Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030, Jordan 2025 – A National Vision and Strategy, as well as the Palestinian National Policy Agenda 2017-2022.

About UN Women:

UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide.

About ILO:

Since 1919, the ILO has been bringing together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men. It is the only tripartite agency of the U.N.

About Sida:

Sida is a government agency working on behalf of the Swedish parliament and government, with the mission to reduce poverty in the world. Through our work and in cooperation with others, we contribute to implementing Sweden’s Policy for Global Development (PGU).

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Maha Rateb

Communication and Advocacy Analyst

UN Women Egypt

Tel: 23240556


Mr. David Svab

Programme Management Specialist

JP Work4Women 

UN Women Regional Office for Arab States


Ms. Asmaa Rezk

Senior Communication and Information Management Assistant

ILO Egypt

Tel: 00201099760450