Paving the Path for Women in Egypt’s Democratic Transition

Date: Friday, June 3, 2011

Cairo—During a visit to Egypt in June, UN Women Executive Director Ms. Michelle Bachelet stressed the critical role transitional governments play in paving the path to gender equality and social justice.

“Now is the time to make sure that all voices are heard and that the interests and voices of women and girls have equal priority with those of men and boys, Ms. Bachelet said in her keynote address, 2 June, at the event “Pathways for Women in Democratic Transitions — International Experiences and Lessons Learned.

Before an audience of more than 200 people, including the Government of Egypt, field experts, activists, civil society organizations and media, Ms. Bachelet shared Chile's approach to achieve growth with equity and social justice through gender-responsive social policies as well as educational, legal and pension reforms, following its return to democracy.

“What I want to highlight here is the importance for transitional governments to link economic recovery to social justice early on, so that all parts of society know and believe they have a stake in the future, Ms. Bachelet said.

“You cannot play the game of development, if you don't play with your whole team — men and women, she further explained. Just like football; a highly popular sport in Egypt and Chile alike, “you cannot win the game with only half of the team players.

At the event H.E Ms. Fayza Abul Naga, Minister for International Cooperation and Planning of Egypt, stressed that in order to “restore the role of women in Egypt towards democracy, women must take the lead in political parties and transitions. She added, “Egyptian media has the potential to raise awareness on gender equality. It has to be a way of life.

The conference concluded with a public communiqué highlighting priorities and recommendations. The communiqué called for the government to create an enabling environment to achieve gender equality and justice; civil society organizations to raise women's issues from the bottom up and build advocacy networks; research institutions to require a sustained process of knowledge production that provides a base for the politics of gender; and young women leaders and activists to join efforts with national women machineries and women organizations.

For more information, contact Menna Reda Kamel, UN Women Communications and Social Media Specialist, Egypt, mennatallah.kamel[at]