Promoting Gender-responsive Workplaces in Egypt

The project responds to the need to reinforce gender equality at company level through a better understanding of the law by management of companies on one side; and to enhance advocacy skills of workers to improve their working conditions on the other.

Donor: Embassy of the Netherlands in Egypt
Geographical area of implementation: Egypt
Contact(s): Eric Oechslin, Officer in Charge

Project Background

In Egypt, the issue of CSR has become important for all actors of the society. CSR as defined by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is “the commitment of business to contribute to sustainable economic development, working with employees, their families, the local community and society at large to improve their quality of life” and is thus seen as a means of improving the economic and social status of millions of people.
The fight against discrimination is also one the ten principles of the UN Global Compact and at the heart of the ILO Declaration on fundamental principles and rights at work (1998). While most Egyptian companies, especially large companies, are interested in CSR, these initiatives mainly concentrate on charitable projects for poor communities or donations to hospitals or schools. A more comprehensive CSR perspective would include improving gender equality and women’s empowerment within the company and at all levels.

The project should also contribute to the development of a sound gender-responsive social dialogue in Egypt. Sound industrial relations and effective social dialogue are a means to promote better wages and working conditions as well as peace and social justice for women and men. As instruments of good governance, they foster cooperation and economic performance, helping to create an enabling environment for the realization of the objective of Decent Work at the national level.

Implementation strategy

The project builds on achievements and established partnerships of the “Way forward after the Revolution: Decent Work for Women in Egypt and Tunisia” project funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. The two projects include complementary and mutually supportive interventions for the contribution to women and gender equality.
The project works with the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) and most representative trade union federations in Egypt to strengthen their role in the promotion of gender equality. This work build on and prolong earlier engagement and solid relations with both employers and workers organizations in Egypt, in the domain and gender equality and beyond. Trade unions will be supported to become more active players to advocate for gender equality and defend women at work, including as part of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. On the employers’ side, the FEI will act as the main project partner to support private firms in Egypt in adopting best-practice gender-sensitive HR policies.

Objectives and expected outcomes

1. Workers’ unions become effective advocates of gender equality.
1.1 Male and female trade unionists are knowledgeable about gender equality and CSR;
1.2 New initiatives for gender equality adopted by national stakeholders.

2.Gender-sensitive human resources policies adopted in leading private companies.
2.1 A social academy is established by the FEI as a new and permanent service;
2.2 New gender-sensitive HR policies adopted by 5 champion companies.

Implementing partners

• Workers’ organizations (at least 380 members will profit from capacity building)
• Employers’ organizations (at least 50 members will profit from capacity building)
• Private companies (target 50 companies)
• Governmental institutions
• Non-governmental women’s organizations

Target groups

Women workers: 380 female workers will directly profit from skills increases, trained on gender related topics; indirectly through the better environment and with more decent employment opportunities at the company level, many more women will profit of the project.

For further information, please contact:
Mr. Eric Oechslin: