IFC launches new program to help boost women employment in Egypt

EGYPT – The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has launched a new advisory program aimed at creating more employment opportunities for Women in Egypt.

The advisory program will be targeted at private sector companies, providing them with information on how they can tap into the country’s large, underutilized female talent pool and spur economic growth.

IFC in a statement said that the three-year program will help create family-friendly, flexible workplaces to make Egyptian businesses more resilient, agile and inclusive, especially in times of crisis.

According to IFC, only 24 percent of working-age women participated in Egypt’s labor market in 2019, a significantly lower number compared to that of men which stood at 75 percent.

IFC notes that evening out those numbers is critical for economic growth, as the country’s GDP could rise by 34 percent if women and men participated equally.

“The participation of women is macro-critical,” said Dr. Rania el Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, Arab Republic of Egypt.

Dr. Mashat added that gender parity had quantifiable impact on GDP, productivity and as a catalyst to push the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals forward.

Egypt is the first country in the Middle East and Africa to launch the ‘Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator’, a private public platform for collaboration to reach gender parity, with the World Economic Forum.

 “Creating economic opportunities for women in Egypt is a strategic priority for IFC,” said Walid Labadi, IFC’s country manager for Egypt, Libya and Yemen.

Labadi explained that private sector companies are starting to realize the potential of the female workforce to overcome skill and talent shortages and spur economic growth.

He further advised companies to be more flexible, and to be willing to implement remote and family-friendly working arrangements so as to benefit companies and support both their female and male employees.

To reach the widest group of firms, IFC will also partner with an Egyptian business association to create a peer-learning platform to raise awareness, share knowledge and improve women’s access to jobs.

In partnership with the World Bank, IFC’s team will also work to help remove legal barriers to women’s employment by supporting economy-wide policy reform dialogue.

The program will be implemented in partnership with the government of the Netherlands as part of a broader effort aimed at private sector development in the Middle East and North Africa.

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