Egypt: Nationwide breast cancer screening to debt relief amongst host of promises made to women
Issue 1437, (4 - 10 April 2019
Accommodating Egyptian mothers
From a nationwide breast cancer scan to paying their debts, Al-Sisi made a host of promises to Egyptian women on their big dayBy Reem Leila
President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi honoured 42 women, including 32 ideal mothers and mothers of martyrs, during a ceremony held by the National Council for Women (NCW) to celebrate Egyptian Women's Day.
The ceremony also recognised 10 women for their accomplishments in various fields, including Ambassador Mervat Al-Tellawi, former head of NCW, Fawzeya Abdel-Sattar, former MP and professor of law at Cairo University, businesswoman Lola Zaqlama, and Nawal Al-Degwi, president of Misr University for Modern Science and Arts.
"Egyptian women have a great role in society as they represent 57 per cent of university students, 55 per cent of faculty members, 27 per cent of beneficiaries from financial services and 21 per cent of the employed population," according to Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali.
During the ceremony, Al-Sisi instructed the government to improve appropriate legislation to effectively protect women against all forms of violence while stressing that child marriage, deprivation from education as well as problems in receiving alimony after divorce are considered different forms of violence.
"The council has established 18 units in universities for women to report any form of violence they have been exposed to," NCW head Maya Morsi said.
"We are also conducting several ongoing campaigns to increase people's awareness regarding the harms of child marriage," she added.
During the ceremony, Morsi shed light on some of the achievements of NCW, including upgrading women's qualifications to improve their participation in the labour market through education, training, marketing services and financial inclusion programmes. "We managed to reach more than 125,000 women with these services," she said.
Regarding the political empowerment of women globally, Egypt ranks 136th but can be ranked 91 if women's representation in parliament increased to 25 per cent instead of the current 14.9 per cent.
According to Morsi, there are more than five million beneficiaries of the council's programmes which cover a wide range of initiatives. This includes early detection of breast cancer.
Al-Sisi discussed with Health Minister Hala Zayed the possibility of screening women nationwide and treating them for breast cancer, suggesting a fund to finance such women-related initiatives.
"We established a fund for the martyrs and the injured, and we established a fund to care for our disabled sons and daughters. Let's establish a fund for women," Al-Sisi said.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among Egyptian women, according to Zayed, who added that despite the fact that the rate of incidence in Egypt is equal to that of Europe, Egyptian women prefer to spend their limited incomes on their children rather than on their treatment.
Al-Sisi further instructed the government to issue legislation to end the phenomenon of women being imprisoned over debts.
He also called for drafting a family awareness project to increase young people's awareness of marriage responsibilities, along with studying the promulgation of a new personal status law.