What is Egypt doing to reduce the gender pay gap?

The Egyptian Constitution promotes equality between men and women in all their rights and obligations. The Egyptian Labor Code explicitly prohibits wage discrimination, and the Labor Law guarantees equal pay for equal work. Several articles in the constitution support women in achieving work-life balance.

In the public sector, female employees have the flexibility to request half-time work and in return get half paid. They are also entitled to take up to three parental leaves of up to two years without pay. And according to article 72 of the law 48 (of year 1978), the State is responsible to pay its share and the female employee’s share in the social insurance subscription. As for the private sector, the Labor Code requires employers (employing 100 or more female workers) to provide childcare facilities on site.

The State is constantly studying measures to reduce the gender pay gap. During the World Youth Forum of 2018, a session aimed at discussing measures to reduce the gender-based gap in the labor market was held. Furthermore, State budget allocation is constantly being adjusted in favor of women. Money allocated to nine different entities working on gender-related issues increased by approximately 80% from an average of 1.5 bn EGP during 2010/11-2014/15 to 2.7 bn EGP during 2015/16-2019/20.

In the year 2017, the National Council for Women introduced “The National Strategy for the Empowerment of Egyptian Women 2030” and President Al-Sisi directed all government officials and the state bodies to reinforce its plans, programs and projects. The objective of the strategy is to strengthen the status of women through a comprehensive approach that takes into consideration the different roles that women play at the different phases of their life. If all social groups, state institutions and its executive bodies actively participate in the strategy and its programs, this would accordingly reflect as a reduction in Egypt’s gender pay gap on the long run.

In what way can EPIC be relevant to Egypt?

The Egyptian Labor Law guarantees equal pay for equal work, however, as a result of gender-based discriminatory work practices, there is still evidence of a gap in the average wages of women compared to men. Those discriminatory work practices result in a high concentration of women in jobs placed at the bottom of the career ladder. According to the Global Gender Gap Report of 2020, very few women in Egypt occupy managerial roles (only 7.1%). And as per the statistics, they have very limited presence among firms’ owners (2.4%) and top managers (4.9%). It is also estimated that the income of an average man is about 3.8 times that of an average woman.

Therefore, EPIC can serve as a platform for sharing country experiences, success stories, and by supporting any measures Egypt takes forward in reducing the gender pay gap, such as introducing an article combating the gender pay gap in the Egyptian constitution; providing mentoring programs where women are advised on how to negotiate their salary and working conditions; promoting female entrepreneurship; and enforcing transparency among employees regarding salary, promotion, and reward processes. Hence, Egypt looks forward to adopting successful legislative and institutional efforts undertaken in other EPIC member countries addressing this issue.

Joining EPIC demonstrates Egypt’s will in reducing the gender gap and working towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals 2030, especially Goal 5 on gender equality and Goal 8 on decent work and inclusive economic growth, particularly target 8.5 which states “By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value”.