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Rural women and decent work in Egypt

and Amira Mahmoud.

On April 11th and 12th, YPARD Egypt participated in a stakeholder validation workshop on rural women and decent employment in Egypt which was jointly organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN-FAO) and International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).

The workshop is part of ICARDA and FAO’s joint efforts to address rural gender inequalities and accelerate women’s empowerment in rural communities across the MENA region.

The two-day workshop provided a sound forum for national stakeholders to discuss opportunities and formulate recommendations for enhancing rural women’s access to decent jobs. Members of YPARD Egypt together with more than 40 participants representing key stakeholders including governmental agencies, agricultural institutions, policymakers, media and international organizations present in Egypt discussed gender inequalities in rural communities and different approaches to empower women particularly in rural labor markets in the MENA region being one of the most gender-segregated regions in the world in terms of employment and work opportunities.

During the workshop, the empirical results of the joint ICARDA-FAO study on women’s work and empowerment in rural Egypt were presented and discussed. The study results provided empirically based-evidence on the gender disparities in rural labor markets and indicated the need for creating more and better jobs for rural women. Interestingly, the study showed that out of Egypt’s almost 95 million, about 57% of the population live in rural areas. Despite the decline of its contribution to the country’s GDP, agriculture continues to be the main source of employment and livelihoods in rural Egypt. Statistics show that the agricultural sector employs 30% of the labor force out of which 45% are women. In spite of this significant proportion, rural women encounter multiple obstacles to access productive resources and services, and face discrimination in rural labor markets. In this context, representative of YPARD Egypt specially emphasized the importance of rural (young) women’s access to education, training and finance in order to enable them to continue playing their vital role in combating poverty and improving food security and nutrition in rural areas.

By the end of the workshop, the participants had concluded a set of policy recommendations for enhancing Egyptian rural women’s accessibility to decent jobs rural communities as a means for accelerating progress towards the socio-economic empowerment of women.

Photo credit: World Bank Flickr