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Closing Gender Gap Accelerator

Egypt’s Ministry of International Cooperation Unites the International Community around the Gender Agenda through Closing Gender Gap Accelerator

By: Dr. Rania Al Mashat

Mon, Aug. 17, 2020

Confident that empowering women and integrating them as active participants in the economy is essential to eradicating poverty and promoting economic growth, Egypt has always put women empowerment at the forefront of its national priorities.

It is widely acknowledged that closing the gender gap in the area of economic opportunities positively impacts development. Women’s participation is “macro-critical” and if parity is achieved in Egypt, GDP would increase by 34%, according to Booz and Company’s 2012 report “Empowering the Third Billion: Women and the World of Work.”

Currently, Egypt is executing 34 projects, worth US$ 3.3 billion, that tackle the gender equality issue. These projects represent direct investments in building human capital, as women are amongst the main beneficiaries. Top targeted sectors are health, education and MSMEs; where we address barriers to women’s economic participation, improve women’s and girls’ access to quality education and technical training, as well as promote women’s leadership and entrepreneurship.

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 labor force, and advancing more women into management and leadership roles.

The launch of Egypt’s Closing the 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.

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.

Moreover, 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. We will leverage on the World Economic Forum’s global platform to help expedite the implementation of SDG5 across sectors in Egypt and serve as a multi-stakeholder platform. It 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, as well as the enabler for the economic opportunities for women to recover from the Covid19 pandemic.

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. By applying a model of public-private collaboration on workplace gender parity developed by the World Economic Forum, Egypt becomes 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. 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.

A System Analysis is carried out on the country level, in coordination with key stakeholders and local coordinators. The System Analysis includes both Quantitative and Qualitative Analyses. On the national level, the model aims to focus on four main objectives: 1. Preparing women for the post COVID-19 world of work; 2. Closing gender gaps in remuneration between and within sectors; 3. Enabling women’s participation in the labor force; and 4. Advancing more women into management and leadership.

After launching the Accelerator, the Ministry of International Cooperation invited and united the International Community to the First Multi-Stakeholder Platform on ‘Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator’. The virtual platform, saw the participation of over 80 participants from the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), USAID and United Nations and its agencies as well as foreign courts including the Embassy of UK, Canada, China, Korea, USA, Germany and France, among others.

We want to achieve real impact in the economic participation of women in the economy, consistent with the objectives of the accelerator. Though there are so many projects happening on ground, the accelerator program will act as an international benchmark to help ensure that all efforts are coordinated and upscaled.

To ensure better results, the accelerator creates a structure for all stakeholders to engage in three stages: initiate projects, facilitate discussions to prioritize actions according to key objectives, and measure impact according to defined targets and metrics before final approval.


By. Dr. Rania Al Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation - Former Minister of Tourism-International Economist