UN Women Collaborates with Different Partners to Mark International Women’s Day in Alexandria

Date: Monday, April 1, 2019

The first panel discussion titled "Women and Labor: An Arab Cultural Perspective" that was held in the event organized at Bibliotheca Alexandrina on March 19th, 2019.
Caption: The first panel discussion titled "Women and Labor: An Arab Cultural Perspective" that was held in the event organized at Bibliotheca Alexandrina on March 19th, 2019. Photo: UN Women/Maha Rateb

UN Women Egypt, in partnership with the National Council for Women, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and Plan International in Egypt commemorated International Women’s Day (IWD) through organizing two separate events on Tuesday, March 19th, at Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

The first event entitled “The Problems of Development, Culture and Work” started with opening remarks by Dr. Mostafa El-Feki, Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina; Mr. Moudather Hussein Sidiqui, Head of Plan International Egypt; Dr. Hend Hanafy, Former President of Alexandria University and member of National Council for Women; and Ms. Maha Rateb, Communication and Advocacy Analyst at UN Women Egypt. During his speech, Dr. El-Feki praised Egypt's development in the field of women's empowerment, reflecting on the appointment of 8 female ministers in the current cabinet, along with a large number of female parliamentarians. Moreover, Dr. Hend Hanafy shed the light on the role of Egyptian women as key partners in development and in overcoming the challenges facing Egypt, considering the decision of 2017 to be the year of Egyptian women as a remarkable step in the empowerment of women. Finally, Ms. Maha Rateb emphasized that technology provided unprecedented opportunities for the empowerment of women and girls, particularly in the areas of social protection systems and access to public services and sustainable infrastructure. Rateb further stressed on the importance of coming up with new solutions to achieve gender equality.

The second panel discussion entitled “Towards Decentralized Services: Visions and Treatises” that was held in the event organized at Bibliotheca Alexandrina on March 19th, 2019.
The second panel discussion entitled “Towards Decentralized Services: Visions and Treatises” that was held in the event organized at Bibliotheca Alexandrina on March 19th, 2019. Photo: UN Women/Maha Rateb

The event also witnessed conversations on the different angles of women’s participation in the workforce and the decentralization of services offered to women through two organized panel discussions. The first panel discussion entitled “Women and Labor: An Arab Cultural Perspective” was facilitated by the acclaimed journalist Amina Shafik, and featured several female figures including Dr. Rana Dajani, a Jordanian scholar and professor at the Hashemite University in Jordan; Dr. Nihad Abu el Qumsan, President of the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights; Dr. Nahla Zitoun, World Bank Social Protection Expert; and Ms. Engy Amin, Women Economic Empowerment Officer at UN Women Egypt.

Soha Abu Gharara, Regional Officer at Embassies of Knowledge Department at Bibliotheca Alexandrina sharing her journey in the public event that took place later in the day at Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
Caption: Soha Abu Gharara, Regional Officer at Embassies of Knowledge Department at Bibliotheca Alexandrina sharing her journey in the public event that took place later in the day at Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Photo: UN Women/Maha Rateb

The other panel discussion entitled “Towards Decentralized Services: Visions and Recommendations” was headed by Dr. Hanan Youssef, and included Dr. Hanan Girgis, Executive Vice President of the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research “Baseera”; Dr. Manal Hanafi, Director General of Women's Department at Ministry of Social Solidarity; Ms. Basma Ghanem, Senior Market Analyst at Fund for Arab Women's Projects; and Mr. Ahmed Abdel Wahab, economic researcher at the Egyptian Center for Policy Studies.

The event witnessed great participation of a wide scope of audience which encompassed more than 130 attendees from different sectors including non-governmental organizations, international agencies, religious institutions, academia and media.

Somaya Zidan, the first Egyptian female underwater welder sharing her inspirational story during the public event that took place later in the day at Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
Caption: Somaya Zidan, the first Egyptian female underwater welder sharing her inspirational story during the public event that took place later in the day at Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Photo: UN Women/Maha Rateb

The second event entitled “Women Pioneers: Successful Experiences and Inspirational Stories” was open to the public in Alexandria later in the day. It aimed at featuring successful women in different fields as they got a chance to share their exceptional stories with the audience. Among those inspirational figures was Dr. Soha Abu Gharara, Regional Coordinator of the Embassies of Knowledge Program at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina; Samar Hamza, World Champion in Wrestling; Sumaya Zidan, the First Egyptian Woman to Work in the Underwater Welding Profession; and Nagwan Mohammed Ahmed, Owner of the Handmade Carpet Project in Al-Beheira governorate. These testimonies were positively received by the young men and women who were inspired by the achievements that each of these young women reached through breaking the cultural and social barriers.