Zenein Decent Market to Empower Women and Girls opens in Boulaq El Dakrour in Giza

Date: Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Representatives handing a woman her shop contract during the Zenein Market opening.
Representatives handing a female vendor her shop contract during the Zenein Market opening. (Photo: UN Women/Mahmoud Abd ELLatiff)

Giza, 15 October 2019 – In partnership with the National Council for Women, Giza Governorate, UN Women and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Zenein Market, in Boulaq El Dakrour, was opened today following the completion of its renovations. The opening was attended by Maya Morsy, President of the National Council for Women; Ahmed Rashad, Giza Governor; Gielan Elmessiri, UN Women Deputy Country Representative; and Sherry Carlin, USAID Mission Director.

Dr. Morsy expressed her happiness today at the opening of Zenein Market following its development and the creation of a decent space for vendors and women visiting the market.

“The market’s development comes within the framework of the implementation of the National Strategy for the Empowerment of Egyptian Women 2030, which was drafted by the Council. The strategy stresses on the need to integrate the principles of gender equality and the empowerment of women into the process of urban development, in order to make cities and public spaces more decent for society as a whole, and for women and girls in particular. In this regard, the market contributes to the economic empowerment of women as it gathers around 170 female vendors,” said Dr. Morsy.

Dr. Morsy added that the Council participated in the two committees formed to oversee and monitor the market’s infrastructural development and management, to ensure that the needs of women within the market are taken into account and that their work environment is improved. She stated that the development of the market extended to more than just urban development or infrastructure, where the National Council for Women, through its representation in the committee, worked to achieve a real understanding of the concepts of gender equality and women's empowerment and apply them within the market.

“The development of Zenein Market comes within the district’s plan to develop informal and unsafe markets, in cooperation with a number of partners,” said Major General Ahmed Rashed, Governor of Giza. “In order to help eradicate informal and unplanned markets, Zenein market offers 118 stalls and display areas for selling. Additionally, the renovations included the installation of 800 m² of new sidewalk space along the market, which is shaded during daytime and well-lit during night-time. This sidewalk has improved the level of safety and walkability around the market for the area’s residents,” he added.

“Consultation and confidence-building with the community was the key to the success of this project,” said Gielan El Messiri, UN Women Deputy Country Representative. “Building community understanding and ownership of women's safety in public places takes time but has helped us understand the different needs. For ladies and men who depend on this market. "

“We are proud to support urban development that prioritizes women’s economic empowerment and personal safety and we hope that this is just the beginning of this initiative,” said Sherry Carlin, USAID Mission Director, at the opening ceremony. “Through these and many other projects, USAID is committed to supporting local initiatives that encourage women’s empowerment at home, work, school and in the community.”

“In the new market I will have a very nice display of all kinds of meat. I love my work and I want it to grow,” says Sayeda, butcher at Zenein market for over 24 years. 

Female vendors have also received financial literacy trainings to help make their businesses more successful. A management committee with gender-balanced representation was established to improve communication between vendors and authorities and ensure proper administration of the market. The committee is now working with a bank to provide access to micro-credit and establishing a market vendor association to further enhance the roles and influence of women vendors. Women vendors are also now linked with wholesalers to increase their profits. Finally, vendors received training on women’s rights as well as vendors’ rights and responsibilities.

Following the infrastructural development, Zenein Market has become more accessible for women and children as it is now equipped with ramps to accommodate strollers and wheelchairs. As almost two-thirds of the vendors are female and the majority are mothers, a 160 m² children’s play area was installed so women can bring their children to work.

It is worth mentioning that Zenein Market was built in the mid-1990s in the neighbourhood of Boulaq El Dakrour, Giza. To revitalize the market, the unprecedented joint renovation project began in October 2018 and concluded in June 2019.

The Zenein Market renovation was undertaken as part of the Cairo Safe City and Safe Pubic Spaces programme which is one of the founding programmes in UN Women’s Global Flagship Initiative Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces.

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