Egypt and World Economic Forum launch ‘Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator’, first in Africa and MENA Region

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Mon, 20 Jul 2020 - 08:41 GMT

CAIRO – 20 July 2020: The Ministry of International Cooperation, the National Council for Women, and the World Economic Forum, have launched “Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator”, a national public-private collaboration model which enables governments and businesses to take decisive action on closing economic gender gaps.

The Model supports public and private leaders in shaping innovative pathways to promote gender equality, diversity, inclusion and economic mobility, which is central to Egypt’s reform agenda.

Egypt is the first country in Africa and the Middle East to launch this unique public-private collaboration model supported by the World Economic Forum’s platform. The Accelerator focuses on four key objectives; preparing women for the post COVID-19 world of work, closing gender gaps in remuneration between and within sectors, enabling women’s participation in the labour force, and advancing more women into management and leadership roles.

Minister of International Cooperation, Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, said, “The launch of Egypt’s Gender Gap accelerator highlights the Government of Egypt’s continuous commitment to apply required policies and structural reforms to push the gender agenda and empower Egyptian women, as women’s participation in the economy is macro-critical. The Gender Accelerator will bring together multi-stakeholder actors across the public and private sectors to generate local insight, develop local needs-based action plans and drive their execution”. Minister Al-Mashat added, “Leveraging on the World Economic Forum’s global platform, the accelerator will indeed help expedite the implementation of SDG5 across sectors in Egypt and serve as a multi-stakeholder platform”.

“Closing the gender gap accelerator will be the hub for all the initiatives that fall under the Women’s Economic Empowerment Pillar of the Egyptian National Strategy for the Empowerment of Women 2030”, said Dr Maya Morsy, President of the National Council for Women, “It will also be the enabler for the economic opportunities for women to recover from the Covid19 pandemic. Adapting this tool to the Egyptian context is another guide that is used to enhance our own strategized & coordinated efforts for an effective and efficient outcome”. 

Applying a model of public-private collaboration on workplace gender parity developed by the Forum, Egypt is the latest country committing to action alongside eight other governments that have adopted the model. Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator will be led by the Ministry of International Cooperation and the National Council for Women from the government side. From the private sector, four leading CEOs covering a wide spectrum of business will lead the accelerator towards the advancement of women’s economic empowerment.

 

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“Egypt has made tremendous investments in its human capital foundation by expanding women’s higher education in recent years. The accelerator will support local efforts to unleash the full potential of women in the Egyptian economy” said Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director and Head of the Centre for the New Economy and Society at the World Economic Forum. “The World Economic Forum is delighted Egypt will be the first country from the region to join the global network of Closing the Gender Gap Accelerators”.

Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator is designed to identify key economic gender gaps, develop public- and private-sector interventions for narrowing these gaps, and commit relevant stakeholders from both sectors to a three-year action plan. Central to this effort will be engaging companies on the strong business case for advancing gender parity in their workforces and taking action on promoting women’s participation, advancing their leadership skills and wages, while the government drives new policies and initiatives as well as tracks progress

Co-Chaired by Private Sector Representatives namely, the Commercial International Bank, Qala’a Holdings, Travco Group International, and Delta Investment Holdings, the Accelerator platform will engage with up to 100 private companies in various economic sectors, in addition to civil society experts- targeting the endorsement of policies and plans to advance women economic empowerment in the different fields and at all levels. This brings together multi-stakeholder actors across the public and private sectors to generate in-depth local assessment, as well as develop needs-based policies, and action plans to address all deficiencies hindering complete and equal female economic participation.

"I am extremely proud of our participation in such an important global initiative. Gender gaps of all forms have been an issue plaguing our societies for centuries; said Mr. Hisham Ezz Al-Arab, Chairman CIB Egypt. At CIB-Egypt, we take pride in our achievements and strides when it comes to not just empowering women within our own ranks but also to empower women to grow and create jobs within their respective fields through access to a wide array of financial services.”

“It’s an honor to be named o-Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Accelerator in Egypt, alongside HE Minister Dr. Rania Al Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, Dr. Maya Morsi, Chair of the National Council for Women, and several esteemed private sector leaders. This timely and much-needed platform will help bring together and support individual efforts amongst the public and private sectors to unlock the full potential of women as major participants in our economy and achieve gender equity. At Qalaa, we have always believed in leading by example and as such we have 25% female representation on our Board and women in leadership positions across our subsidiaries. This is an issue I am passionate about and I look forward to collaborating with Minister Al Mashat and my private sector peers to develop practical ways to move forward and significantly advance and accelerate women economic empowerment, and close the existing gender gaps in Egypt.”; added Hisham El-Khazindar, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Qalaa Holdings.

“It’s an honor representing such a noble cause and being part of the globa initative accelerating the closing gender gap; said Mr Karim el Chiaty, Vice Chairman, Travco Group International Holding. Our mission is introducing practical solutions and a monitored action plan built on local needs while facing the different cultural and social challenges until reaching our target of significantly narrowing the gender gap while paving the road for an enduring culture change.”

“The launch of the gender accelerator comes at excellent timing to take advantage of the 4th industrial revolution to draw on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Arabic language and literacy all at once”; commented Ms. Neveen El Tahri; Chairperson Delta Shield/Inspire.

What is “Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator” Model? 

The World Economic Forum’s Accelerator is a national public-private collaboration platform which engages governments and businesses in taking take action on closing economic gender gaps.

The Model helps Public and Private leaders to design innovative pathways for growth, shape tomorrow’s education and workforce landscape, and push gender parity, diversity, inclusion and economic mobility.

 

Who are the key stakeholders in Egypt?

The Accelerator in Egypt is governed through the following structure:

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What are its objectives on both the national and international levels?

On the national level: The model currently focuses on 4 main objectives:

Preparing women for the post COVID-19 world of work, Closing gender gaps in remuneration between and within sectors, Enabling women’s participation in the labour force, and Advancing more women into management and leadership.

While on the international level:  it is seen that each country’s accelerator is part of the global network for co-creating solutions through the World Economic Forum’s Platform.

How is the Accelerator model applied to each country’s local context?

The Accelerator is preceded by a System Analysis done on the country level; in coordination with key stakeholders and local coordinators. The System Analysis includes both Quantitative and Qualitative Analyses.   

 

 

 

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