FILE - Margo Thomas, founder and CEO of the Women’s Economic Imperative – Courtesy of Women's Enterprise Scotland FILE - Margo Thomas, founder and CEO of the Women’s Economic Imperative – Courtesy of Women's Enterprise Scotland

Africa loses $95 billion a year due to gender inequality: Thomas

Mon, Dec. 10, 2018
CAIRO – 10 December 2018: Margo Thomas, founder and CEO of the Women’s Economic Imperative, stressed the need to empower women to play the right roles in leadership positions.

She also called for achieving practical solutions and providing funding for women through policy makers to achieve social justice, asserting that gender inequality makes Africa lose about $95 billion a year.

This came during a women empowerment session on the sidelines of the Africa 2018 Forum held in the Red Sea city of Sharm El-Sheikh on December 8,9, under the auspices of Egypt's President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi

Maggie Kigozi, investment expert and one of Uganda's eminent business women, said that women need to represent about 50 percent of the African states' parliaments.

Women in the current Egyptian Parliament represent about 30 percent of Parliament members, according to Nabila Makram, the Egyptian minister of immigration.

Kigozi, who formerly served as the executive director of the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), said that gender equality needs long years to be implemented in some African countries.

Egypt's Minister of Health Hala Zayed said that for five years, the ministry has adopted many programs and policies to improve women's health, pointing out that women represent 50 percent of the employees in the headquarters of the Ministry of Health.

Zayed said that 30 percent of the vital ministries in Egypt are headed by women, as many women in the country have the expertise that qualify them for leadership positions, in light of the political leadership's keenness to support and empower women in all fields.

She added that the ministry has provided a health insurance program for women, as Egyptian women nowadays are breadwinners for about 35 percent of the Egyptian families.

For her part, Niven al-Misiri, CEO and managing director of Ahli United Bank-Egypt, said that Egypt is working to implement the United Nations guidelines to achieve justice for women in all its institutions, including designating them for promotion.

The change in the society's culture of gender equality is the biggest challenge facing women in Egypt and the African continent in general, Misiri said, calling for allocating good funding to overcome obstacles to women's empowerment.

She stressed that Egypt selects leaders to take senior positions, based on the competence, whether they are men or women, adding that the change in the culture of society towards women was part of the political and economic progress that Egypt has enjoyed over the last four years.

The percentage of women's representation in the Egyptian Parliament has increased by about 15 percent, Misiri said, adding that there are eight women ministers in the current Egyptian government. She also expected more benefits to be granted for Egyptian women at all levels in the coming years.
 
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