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The Minister of International Cooperation one of 9 Egyptian women to receive the Champions of Change Award from the Governments of Sweden, Canada and Mexico on the occasion of Egyptian Women’s Day.

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By, Ahmed Tantawi:

The awarding ceremony was held today, Thursday morning, at the residence of the Mexican ambassador in Cairo, Mr. Jose Octavio Tripp, who handed out the awards together with  the Ambassador of Canada to Egypt, Mr. Louis Dumas and the Chargé d’affaires of Sweden, Mr. Per-Axel Frielingsdorf, as a part of the celebration of Egyptian Women’s Day by the respective embassies.

The ceremony witnessed the honoring of Her Excellency Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, along with eight other women who have all contributed to making Egypt a more gender equal society. Among the awardees were:

  • Mona Korashi, a pioneer in the field of women’s rights in Egypt and a member of the International Women’s Alliance.
  • Heba Rashid, founder and CEO of the Mersal Charity Foundation, which had a prominent role in supporting the medical sector in facing the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Nurse Souad El-Sayed Abdel-Rahim, Head of Nursing Department at “Al-Qoutrien” Hospital, in Aswan.
  • Nadine Ashraf, founder of the “Assault Police Egypt” Instagram page, an unprecedented online platform that aims to raise the awareness of survivors of sexual harassment about their rights guaranteed by the law.
  • Mirna Abdel Azim, an official at the International Organization for Migration, where she works to provide protection for migrants and refugees.
  • Rawan Bassem, managing director of Enpact Egypt, who leads the empowering entrepreneurship initiative into closing the gender-gap every day.
  • Eman Rasmy, a successful model for women in the field of innovation and information technology in Upper Egypt.

  • May ZeinElDein, Founder & President of Alhassan Foundation

“Women participation is Micro critical, and we know that if there is gender parity, Egypt GDP goes up by 34% so, with our international partners we are working hard to achieve these goals.” Said Dr. Rania Al-Mashat the minister of the international cooperation and added “I take this opportunity congratulate the other women who have received this very distinguished awards. This will be more appetite to do more for the beautiful ladies and men in Egypt.”

The “Champions of Change” awards were established to recognize the contributions of Egyptian gender equality pioneers and their efforts in building a stronger Egypt. Gender equality is a priority for Sweden, Canada and Mexico, three countries that all have feminist foreign policies.  The award ceremony takes place in conjunction with the celebration of International and Egyptian Women’s Day.

Sweden was the first country in the world to adopt a Feminist Foreign Policy and Sweden works in Egypt and the Arab region more broadly to promote women’s economic empowerment through a number of initiatives. For example, the Swedish Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) funds a program focusing on the social, economic and legal empowerment of Egyptian women, in partnership with the Egyptian Government, UN agencies and civil society actors.

“It is crucial to include a gender perspective in the Covid-19 response. With our feminist foreign policies, we seek ways to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic and improve the situation for women and girls, also in the long term, as we build back better so that women and girls will have the rights, the representation and the resources that are theirs.” said the Chargé d’affaires of the Swedish Embassy in Cairo, Per-Axel Frielingsdorf.

Mexico was the first country in Latin America to adopt a feminist foreign policy, joining countries from around the world – including Canada and Sweden – that put women and girl’s rights as a top foreign policy objective.

Mexico’s Ambassador, José Octavio Tripp, said, “We support efforts to eliminate structural differences, gaps, and gender inequalities in order to build fair and prosperous societies. Women are at the core of the fight against the Covid-19 crisis: they are leading the health crisis response, where women make up almost 70% of the health care workforce.”

Canada has been at the forefront of empowering women and girls through its development program across Egypt, and through its Feminist International Assistance Policy it recognizes that supporting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is the best way to build a more peaceful, more inclusive and more prosperous world.

Canada’s Ambassador to Egypt Mr. Louis Dumas said, “Our feminist foreign policies are directed towards measures that build a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world. None of these goals can be achieved without empowering women and girls. The emerging coronavirus pandemic makes this priority more important than ever.”  “We also know that women are bearing most of the increasing burden of unpaid work at home, due to the closure of schools and childcare facilities. Today, and every day, we celebrate the social, economic and political achievements of women and work to raise awareness of the barriers that still hold them back,” the ambassador added.

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