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Conference Celebrates the Achievements of Egyptian Women Around the World

3 July, 2017
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Egypt’s National Council for Women held a conference from July 2-3 to showcase Egyptian women from around the world who have excelled in their fields of expertise.

Falling in line with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s declaration of 2017 as the “Year of Women” in Egypt, the two-day event focused on empowering women as members of society and demonstrating how success is possible. 

The conference, which is part of the council’s “Taa Marbouta” campaign, hosted 31 Egyptian women who told their inspiring stories and shared their experiences with attendees. 

In 2016, the National Council of Women launched the “Taa Marbouta” campaign with a series of videos that sought to empower women and show them that they can break through the barriers created by gender inequality. In the Arabic language, a taa marbouta at the end of a word often denotes femininity.

Speaking at the start of the conference, National Council for Women head Maya Morsi said she hopes that the conference will strengthen the role of Egyptian women abroad in the country’s development.

Egypt’s Minister of Immigration and Expatriate Affairs Nabila Makram spoke at the conference and highlighted the significant role Egyptian women have in representing Egypt on the world stage from their positions abroad.

She said that there is no room for sexual discrimination when it comes to choosing leaders in Egyptian communities, adding that many Egyptian communities around the world have chosen women as their representatives.

Makram was not the only woman representing Egypt’s cabinet at the conference. Minister of International Cooperation and Investment Sahar Nasr also spoke during the first session about the great challenges women face in their attempt to pursue careers and maintain their homes. She stressed upon the need to integrate women into government-funded projects in order to bolster their positions as stakeholders in society. 

Nasr recently made headlines for becoming the first woman, Egyptian and African to be appointed as a member on the high level Advisory Board of the United Nations Development Program’s Social Impact Fund.

The Egyptian women taking part in panel discussions throughout the conference represented a variety of professions, from politicians to scientists. The conference aimed to show that women have the ability to become big achievers, whether they dream of becoming an engineer or a pilot. 

One year after her election as the first Muslim woman to become a member of Australia’s parliament, Anne Aly took to the stage to tell her story. Aly was born in Alexandria and moved to Australia when she was two-years-old. She went on to become a professor of criminology at Edith Cowan University.   

Aly, who is known for her experience in combatting terrorism and extremism, also worked for the United Nations to develop programs that maintain security and counter terrorism.

Hoda ElMaraghy also took to the stage to talk about her achievements as the first woman to receive a degree in industrial engineering in the history of Canada. But her list of achievements doesn’t stop there. She was also the first woman to receive the title of adviser to the Canadian minister of defense, among several other accomplishments. ElMaraghy spoke about Egypt’s necessary development, stressing that “industrialization is the only way to improve the economy” and that there is a surplus of job opportunities in manufacturing.

In the field of science, Eman Ghoneim talked about how her work has the power to solve problems affecting the lives of many Egyptians. Ghoneim is the Director of the Research Laboratory for Remote Sensing at Boston University.

At the conference, she explained that her research, which primarily focuses on Egypt’s Red Sea area, in remote sensing has the power to generate better responses to natural disasters. Ghoneim said that remote sensing will help predict where floodwaters will affect Egypt. Seasonal flooding in different areas across Egypt can create unfortunate disasters that often result in death.  

Ghoneim has also used satellite imagery to help locate groundwater sources in the Arabian Peninsula, work that is essential given the world’s ongoing water crisis.

Photo credit: National Council for Women

Tags National Council for Women conference gender inequality Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi Ministry of Immigration and Expatriate Affairs Nabila Makram Ministry of International Cooperation and Investment Sahar Nasr