The World Bank Urges Egypt to Enable Women’s Participation in the Country’s Economy
By Muhammed Aladdin
According to a detailed report on female economic empowerment, the World Bank has requested the government of Egypt to make the matter of enabling female participation in the economy an “urgent priority on the national agenda”.
At a labor participation rate of 23.1%, females remain an “untapped resource” in Egypt’s reemerging economy. The report adds that without an inclusive labor market, sustainable economic growth would be difficult to achieve.
Discrimination in the workforce market has been found to be the main reason behind such a low participation rate, especially within the private sector. Female subjects of the study have stated sexual harassment, family obligations, discouragement from work to be among the reasons behind the low percentage.
But all is not lost, as in The World Economic Forum’s 2018 Gender Gap Index, Egypt has made progress closing the gap in many fields, such as education and health, compared to the 2017 index. However, with a rank of 135 out of 149 countries, Egypt still has a long way to go.
In 2006, the participation rate of women in the work field was 27%, an all-time high. However, the past decade has seen a declining trend, with the proportion of women looking for work or actively working lowered to 23.1% in 2016. The rate stagnated up until 2019, however, the international lender believes that if Egypt encourages more women to participate, the country would experience an unprecedented economic boom.
The World Bank had some pieces of advice for Egypt’s government which included the passage of legislation that would clamp down on work field discrimination, introducing educational reforms that would combat the concept of masculine and feminine jobs, and promote female financial independence.