Promoting productive employment and decent work

The joint UN Women and International Labour Organization (ILO) regional programme entitled “Promoting Productive Employment and Decent Work for Women in Egypt, Jordan and Palestine” aims to reduce the barriers to women’s entry in the labour force and their retention in decent jobs. The programme supports equitable laws and policies and engages public, private and community actors in promoting productive employment while reducing the uneven burden of unpaid care work.

The programme has three main outcomes:

  • Gender-responsive labour laws and related policies are in place and effective
  • A private sector that attracts, retains and promotes women is supported
  • Gender stereotypes about women and men’s responsibilities concerning unpaid care and household work are challenged.

UN Women ECO implements the programme in partnership with ILO, the National Council for Women (NCW), the Ministry of Manpower, and the Ministry of Education & Technical Education. This joint UN Women-ILO programme, generously funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), is expected to run from 2019–2022. Achievements to date include:

  • Strengthened capacity of the Gender Unit/Ministry of Manpower (MoM) at the central level and in 13 district offices, resulting in enhanced knowledge on the main international and national instruments on gender equality, and strengthened ability in utilizing advanced planning tools. The training also included leadership skills for the central unit so as to guide work at the district level.
  • Trainings contributed to, alongside technical support, the Gender Unit/MoM developing a 5 year Action Plan which includes several strategic pillars focusing on promoting women’s economic empowerment; and pursuant to joining the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) in 2019, Egypt was granted membership of the steering committee as the second Arab and African country.
  • Partnership with the EGX enhanced in support of call for promoting more women on corporate boards and more family friendly and social protection policies for women in the labor market. Engaged in annual “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” event in celebration of the International Women’s Day with the attendance of various women leaders and executives, the NCW, AUC/Women on Board Observatory (WOB), and a number of Ministers.
  • Gender-responsive labor policies, in particular on unpaid care, were further promoted through various webinars in partnership with the Economic Research Forum (ERF) pursuant to the development of the report on “Progress of Women in the Arab States 2020: the role of the care economy in promoting gender equality”. Programme in Egypt and Jordan translated and contextualised the training manual on gender and macroeconomics into Arabic.
  • Supported a study on childcare facilities in collaboration with UNICEF and the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) which aims at assessing the impact of childcare facilities on both employers and employees and presenting various models of childcare facilities for employers’ consideration.
  • Conducted national consultations on the gap analysis report developed on convention 190 (C190) on violence and harassment in the world of work to identify possible modifications in the national frameworks to achieve the standards and measures of C190.
  • In partnership with AUC Women on Boards Observatory (WOB), programme supported engagement with two regional networks namely, the Boardroom Africa and 30 percent Club MENA which resulted in availing a wide range of services, advocacy, accredited training, and mentorship to board-ready-women.
  • WOB extended linkage with FRA’s “Empowering Women” mobile application to consolidate the data on women candidates for boards. As of December 2020, the Observatory has reached 1,285 companies, resulting in a database that hosts records for 3,116 women (out of which 428 applicants were received in 2020) through an online board placement and membership applications.
  • WOB released its 2019 annual monitoring report on the status of women on board highlighting 143 champion corporates and banks on gender equality, and collected data for 2020, which showed 13% of women in boards in 2020, as compared to 10% in 2019, and a decrease of EGX companies with zero women on boards from 5% in 2019 to 42.7% in 2020, where 8.4% of companies (20 companies) reached the 30% target for women’s representation on boards.
  • WOB built the capacity of 79 women (55 on Corporate Directors Certification Programme (CDCP), (12 on Finance for Non-Finance Managers), and (12 on Advanced Management) out of which 25.3% were funded by their companies. The training helped participants gain skills and tools that reflected positive on their current capacity as executives where the CDCP alumni applied for the online membership for board placement candidacy.
  • Promoted corporate responsible leadership supporting women’s advancement and retention in the labor force through the adoption and implementation of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) resulting in 11 more companies signing and applying the WEPs gap analysis tool for self-assessment in 2019.
  • To complement research on unpaid care, the JP built on “Because I am a man” campaign, championed by NCW, to accelerate community transformative gender-equitable behaviors highlighting the role that men should play at home as husbands, fathers, sons, brothers and at work as colleagues and managers.
  • Moreover, to encourage women to enter different occupations, the JP promoted a conducive and inclusive learning environment for women in male-dominated sectors, namely three technical vocational and education training (TVET) schools (electricity field) by extending partnerships that secured field visits for students to (Nestle, Groupe SEB, Bisco Misr), individual visits from (Cargil), and internships for 44 students (8 women and 36 men) at (Schneider Electric) as well as job opportunities by (Vocational Training and Employment Center).
  • Provided an “entrepreneurship journey” training to 50 female students, soft skills to 109 students (22 females and 87 males), and a scholarship for basic English learning for professional use to 17 female students to enhance employability. The trainings strengthened participants’ self-confidence, enabled them to compete against their peer males on business ideas in solar energy, engage in round table discussion on “Women and Knowledge” at the French Institute, and strengthened their readiness for the labour market.