Photo courtesy of Plan International Egypt Photo courtesy of Plan International Egypt

‘Her Life, Her Right Summit’ articulates gender issues

Mon, Dec. 11, 2017
CAIRO – 11 December 2017: Plan Egypt held its first annual “Her Life, Her Right Summit” on Sunday, bringing together a spectrum of experts, officials and researchers to discuss various societal problems that affect Egyptian girls, including female genital mutilation, child marriage and sexual harassment.

The summit comprised of three panel discussions, tackling the latest statistics and facts around gender-based violence (GBV) in Egypt, the legislative progress to address the issue and field-based evidence on the effects of GBV on girls.

“We are seeking to present the issue of gender-based violence in a different way, and since none of us can work alone, the purpose of this conference is to bring about a collaboration of efforts to address the problem,” Noha Abdel Hamid, strategic partnerships & advocacy manager at Plan Egypt, said at the onset of the summit.

Setting the ground for a scientific and meaningful discussion, the summit started by presenting facts and figures that clarify the situation in Egypt, based on surveys by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), Ministry of Health and Education’s Demographic Health Survey (DHS) program and the National Population Council.

Introducing the outcomes of Egypt’s first survey addressing the economic cost of GBV,
Wafaa Magued, general manager of gender statistics at CAPMAS, revealed that the cost reached LE 2.17 billion ($151.7 million) according to 2015 surveys.

“A total of 92 percent of married Egyptian females have been subject to FGM,” said Fatma el-Zanati, DHS technical director. “There is an improvement, but not as much as we hope,” Zanati stated, stressing on the importance of educating men, as much as women, about FGM.

Emphasizing the magnitude of the phenomenon of child marriage, Zanati clarified that “14.5 percent of Egyptian females between 15 and 19 years old are already married” and 11 percent of them are mothers. “There is also a strong connection between early marriage and child mortality,” Zanati added.

Parliamentarian Mona Mounir and lawyer Nevine Ebeid, member of the New Woman Foundation, later discussed the legislation progress in terms of GBV, followed by the last panel about GBV effects, held by Ahmed Abdel Daim, child protection officer at the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF); Amira Hussein, education program director at CARE International; and Randa Fakhr el-Din, executive director of NGOs Union Against Harmful Practices on Women and Children.

The summit concluded by recommending a surveillance program at the community level to support NGOs, networks, community technical teams and community leaders in order to monitor and protect anti-FGM and human rights programs.

It further emphasized the necessity of regaining political support and including anti-FGM health messages and child protection laws in the curricula of preparatory and secondary schools, as well as medical and nursing institutes.

The summit was held in conjunction with the last day of the international “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence” campaign, celebrated annually to challenge violence against women and girls.

Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian organization established in 1937 to advance children’s rights and gender equality. The organization has operated in nine governorates in Egypt since 1981, and in accordance with a five-year strategic development plan (2016-2021) that aims to “deliver significant change for girls and boys, putting a special emphasis on gender equality,” in parallel with the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
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