Posted on 28 June 2013 by wlp
By Olivia Alabaster, on behalf of WLP Lebanon/CRTD.A
CAIRO: On the opening day of WLP-Lebanon/CRTD.A’s regional conference on economic justice and women’s rights, delegates representing women’s organisations from Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Bahrain and Morocco met in Cairo to discuss the implications of Egypt’s current IMF (International Monetary Fund) negotiations for women.
An Egyptian woman worker stacks bricks at a brickyard kiln factory near the town of Mansoura city, 210 km north of Cairo in March 30, 2008 (cc) Nasser Nouri
In the opening plenary, Lina Abou-Habib, director of the Lebanese NGO CRTD-A (WLP’s partner in Lebanon), said that the theme was chosen as the IMF negotiations are an urgent matter, but due to the lack of transparency surrounding the talks, “very few of us are aware of the negotiations.”
“Attention and involvement in the issue is crucial,” she added, as “it does affect all of us.”
The first speaker, Dr. Salwa al-Antari, former head of the research institute at the Bank of Egypt, laid out the economic state of the country, and detailed how the situation has deteriorated since the revolution in 2011.
“After a revolution which asked for certain slogans, it has gotten worse. Why is this?” she asked, putting the blame on a failure of management and a lack of good governance.
However she also blamed the Mubarak government for the situation today.
“The revolution was the best proof that all the policies adopted before were complete failures,” she said “the majority of population before the revolution never felt the fruits of growth rates.”
She painted a stark portrait — a country experiencing high unemployment, ever slowing growth and high poverty.
After the revolution, foreign investment left the country – some $9 billion in the first six months alone.
The tourism sector – one vital to the country – has also suffered greatly, she said, thanks to the instability and also to deliberate neglect of the sector by government officials.
“It became obvious that there are methodological efforts to prevent tourism,” she said, citing comments from politicians and the recent appointment of an Islamist governor of the Luxor region.
She criticized the current Mursi government for looking to borrowing as the only solution for a growing budget deficit, and its 2013-2014 state budget plans, which was recently passed by the Shura Council.
Sales tax increases will most seriously affect those already struggling, and income tax rules – with 25% for the highest bracket – do not go far enough, and exempt only those who earn less than 456 Egyptian pounds a month, ($65).
To summarise, she said that any “IMF loan will impact upon poor people and women will be the worst affected.”
Business journalist Musbah Katub spoke next, and was skeptical over the worth of any IMF loan.
He described the ongoing negotiations between Mursi’s government and the IMF as a “bad game,” with the latter trying to “trap countries into indebtment… when they are unable to pay it back.”
“I believe the current proposal aims at making Egypt drown in more and more foreign indebtness,” he said, adding that when Mursi assumed office there was $34 billion of debt, a figure which has increased by $11 billion in his first year of office.
He also said that the only reason Egypt has been able to ride out these economic dark days thus far is all the unpaid work that women do.
Any IMF loan, he said, would see “women paying off high costs.”
Lastly, economist Dr. Ahmad al-Hajjar slammed the current government’s policies: “we are seeing the same policies as under Mubarak, but with less efficiency.”
The government, he said, was taking out this IMF loan to manage the state budget deficit, but it is holding the next generations responsible for paying it off.
That women’s involvement in the workforce has dropped from 29% to 23%, he said, was shameful, and were this to increase it would “help the entire country have a good productive system,” rather than merely relying on foreign loans which leave the country more susceptible to external meddling.
This Conference was organised as part of a regional programme on gender equality and economic justice including Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco and Egypt and funded by Oxfam-Novib. The outcomes of this event is expected to feed into a regional policy dialogue process aiming identifying strategies to support women’s involved in economic policy formulation.
Workshop on “Farmers’ Rights and the Egyptian revolution”organized by the Land Center on Dec 27 ورشه حقوق المزارعين وثورة المصريين
حقوق المزارعين وثورة المصريين
تحية طيبة وبعد…،،
يسعد مركز الأرض دعوة سيادتكم لحضور ورشته تحت عنوان:
حقوق المزارعين وثورة المصريين
والتي تُعقد يوم الخميس الموافق 27/ 12 /2012 بمقر المركز في العنوان : 76 شارع الجمهورية شقة 67 ـ الدور الثامن بجوار جامع الفتح ـ الأزبكية ـ القاهرة في تمام الساعة العاشرة صباحا وحتى الساعة الخامسة عصرا
وستكون الورشة عبارة عن مناقشات مفتوحة للعديد من المشاركين من ممثلي نقابات الفلاحين وبعض الجمعيات الأهلية والنشطاء والمهتمين باستكمال مهام الثورة ونهضة الريف المصرى
وتهدف الورشة إلى التعرف على المشكلات التى يعانى منها قطاع الزراعة وحجم العمل فى هذا القطاع والمشاكل والانتهاكات التى يتعرض لها العاملين فيه بالاضافة الى اوضاع الحق فى الرعاية الصحية خاصة فى الريف وذلك بعد انتشار امراض الفشل الكلوى والكبد الوبائى والسرطان وانعدام الخدمات فى معظم القرى ، هذا الى جانب المناقشات الدائرة حول الحق فى التنظيم خاصة بعد تزايد عدد النقابات المستقلة التى تهدف للدفاع عن مصالح صغار المزارعين وستحاول الورشة أن تقدم رؤية بديلة لدعم حقوق المزارعين واستكمال الثورة المصرية فى العيش والكرامة والعدالة الاجتماعية .
هذا وكلنا ثقة في أن مشاركتكم وما تقدموه من آراء قيمة سوف تثري النقاش حول هده القضية الهامة
مرفق الجدول المقترح لليوم والموضوع
المنعقدة يوم الخميس الموافق 27/ 12/ 2012
حقوق المزارعين وثورة المصريين
10 – 11.30
اوضاع قطاع الزراعة فى ظل الثورة
أ/ زكريا حداد (محاضر)
كلية الزراعة – جامعة بنها
أ.د شريف فياض (محاضر)
مركز بحوث الصحراء
رئيس جلسة ومعقب
اتحاد عمال مصر المستقل
11.30 – 1
العمل الزراعي في إطار حقوق الإنسان
أ./ محمد عبد السلام(محاضر)
نقابى واحد مؤسسى حزب الإشتراكي المصري
أ.د./ اسامة بهنساوى (محاضر)
كلية الزراعة – جامعة الازهر
رئيس جلسة ومعقب
ناشط حقوقى ومستشار نقابة المحامين
1 – 1.30
1.30 – 3
الرعاية الصحية في مصر وأمراض الريف
أ.د./ مديحة خطاب (محاضر)
عميد كلية طب القصر العيني
أ.د/ علاء غنام (محاضر)
المبادرة المصرية للحقوق الشخصية
رئيس جلسة ومعقب
مدير المركز القومى للبحوث والتربية
3 – 4.30
أوضاع حق التنظيم فى اطار المواثيق الدولية
(النقابات الفلاحية المستقلة والتعاونيات وآفاق المستقبل)
أ.د/ مدحت أيوب(محاضر)
مدير عام الاتحاد العام للتعاونيات
طلال شكر (محاضر)
نائب رئيس نقابة المعاشات والتأمينات
رئيس جلسة ومعقب
أ./ صابر بركات
نقابي وقيادى عمالى
4.30 – 5
مركز الارض لحقوق الانسان
العنوان : 76 شارع الجمهورية شقة 67 ـ الدور الثامن بجوار جامع الفتح ـ الأزبكية -القاهرة
www.lchr-eg.org موقعنا على الإنترنت
CRTD.A and regional partners conclude regional capacity building workshop on Sustainable Economic Opportunities for Women in Beirut with a press Conference on Wednesday 21 November
47 participants representing women’s and development organizations from Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia and Lebanon concluded their regional capacity building workshop in Beirut with an encounter with the media to share their findings and analysis of the situation as well as the highlights of a forthcoming regional advocacy on women’s economic rights in the Arab region. Participants analyzed the current trends in the Arab region by highlighting the impact on women of the rise of religious fundamentalism couple with continuing neo-liberal economic policies, the increasing informality and invisibility of women’s labor and the aggressive calls for women to return to the private domain. Participants noted that they are working towards stepping up research as well as regional and international advocacy on key impact and policy implications related to women’s care work and invisible work, women in rural areas, and women in the informal sector in selected countries of the Arab region. More information about this event and attendant document will shortly be posted
The workshop was organized by the Collective for Research and Training on Development – Action (www.crtda.org.lb) , a member of the Women Learning Partnership (www.learningpartnership.org ), with the support of Oxfam-Novib.
CRTD.A is organizing a regional capacity building workshop within the framework of the Sustainable Economic Opportunities for Women SEOW2 on November 19 & 20 in YWCA, Ain Mreisseh, Beirut. Participants from Lebanon, Egypt, Morrocco and Tunisia will be gathering to shed the light on women’s real economic participation (visible or invisible), enhancing the recognition and value attributed to women’s work and translating this recognition into practices and policies.
تنظم مجموعة الأبحاث و التدريب للعمل التنموي ورشة عمل اقليمية لبناء القدرات و ذلك ضمن اطار مشروع الفرص الاقتصادية المستدامة للنساء SEOW2 يومي 19 و 20 تشرين الثاني 2012 في جمعية الشابات المسيحيات، عين المريسة،بيروت.
ستقوم خلالها المشاركات الوافدات من لبنان، مصر، المغرب و تونس بتسليط الضوء على المشاركة الاقتصادية الحقيقية للنساء (مرئية كانت أو غير مرئية)، اضافة الى الاعتراف و تعزيز القيمة الخاصة بعمل النساء كما و ترجمتها في الممارسات و السياسات المتبعة.
سيتم نشر معلومات اضافية عن هذه الورشة لاحقا على الرابطين التاليين:
Nationality film viewing on August 13, 2012
Around 30 participants coming from various Egyptian organisations gathered on the 25th and 26th of June at the Association of Upper Egypt for Education and Development (AUEED) to reflect on women’s invisible work at the global, regional and national level and strengthen their communications and social media capacity, within the framework of the Collective for Research and Training on Development – Action led project Sustainable Economic Opportunities for Women, currently being implemented in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Morocco.
Participants came from all over Egypt from the Future Eve association, the New Woman Foundation, the Association of Upper Egypt for Education and Development, the Badia Foundation, the Egyptian Association for Sustainable Development, the Forum of Women in Development and the Evangelical Association for Comprehensive Development.
During two days, participants worked on the meanings of women’s work amidst political changes in Egypt. The first day of the workshop was dedicated to a short summary of what has been achieved so far in terms of research and round tables on the topic of women’s work in the informal sector and of domestic work. Papers prepared by CRTD.A consultants Ms Rabea Naciri and Tina Wallace, dealing with women’s informal work in the MENA region and in Lebanon, were briefly presented, along with the debates that have been organised in Lebanon on mainstream indicators and the ideologies underlying them and on women’s informal work in Lebanon. The glaring results of these studies so far have been that women’s work at home and in the informal sector, while being absolutely crucial to household economics and society as a whole, is rarely recognized, let alone valued and accounted for. This is particularly oppressive to women as in the MENA region, the overwhelming majority of women work in the informal sector and/or at home, carrying the bulk of society’s reproduction, while official indicators still estimate the female activity rate at around 20%, one of the lowest in the world.
The issue of accounting for and accurately measuring women’s participation to the economy has been extensively tackled afterwards by the resource person coming from the WIDE Network, Ms Bénédicte Allaert who questioned in her presentation mainstream indicators that we usually take for granted, such as the GDP or what constitutes work under the ILO definition. Ms Allaert went on to demonstrate that these indicators indeed did not paint an accurate picture of economic realities, globally and in the region. Participants were then invited to break into groups and work on the concepts of women’s informal work, women’s work in the household, gender stereotypes pertaining to what is perceived as “women’s work” and the three roles women have to play (productive, reproductive and in the community) paid work/unpaid work, and women in the formal sector. The outcome of the group work was the very purpose of it: participants had different understandings of the concepts, highlighting that what is being measured and studied in the economy is only the tip of the iceberg, with most of economic relationships happening unnoticed and invisible. This knowledge and research will serve as a basis to inform and influence future and global public policies in order to improve the protection, respect and fulfilment of women’s economic rights.
The role of neo-liberal policies and their impact coupled with the impact of the economic crisis on Egyptian women were also discussed. In Egypt, lack of employment opportunities and long-standing weak social protection and work conditions systems were only worsened by the decrease in foreign investment brought about by the economic crisis, as well as the decrease in tourism. The impact of that depression in the economy was first and foremost borne by women who had to endure massive losses of jobs, and carry on the majority of the housework load.
The second day was articulated around social media and on how can Facebook Twitter and blogs help raise awareness on this topic and allow for partner to stay in touch in between physical meetings. The workshop ended with participants drafting action plans to carry the project forward, with the ultimate aim to change not only policies and laws, but also mentalities.
Stay in touch as we will soon publish interviews with Egyptian women on their points of view on why the issue of women’s work is important and relevant!
Ever wondered why mainstream economic indicators almost never took into account women’s domestic work and work in the informal sector, even though it plays a crucial part in the economy and society?
Did you know that the overwhelming majority of women in the MENA region work in the informal sector, yet their work remains unrecognised, unvalued and unaccounted for?
To answer these questions and go deeper in analysing the definition of women’s work and making women’s invisible work visible, the Collective for Research and Training on Development – Action is organising within the framework of the Sustainable Economic Opportunities for Women project a round of capacity building sessions in partner countries.
These workshops are within the continuation of CRTD.A’s commitment to highlight women’s economic participation in the region, with the long term objective of influencing public policies and actions towards the realisation of women’s economic rights and a reshaping of how economic indicators are built.
Following two round tables in Lebanon women’s informal work and economic indicators, the next capacity building workshops will take place in Egypt on the 25th and 26th of June and in Morocco on the 10th and 11th of July. During these sessions, partner organisations and their own local partners will discuss concepts pertaining to the definition of women’s work, such as domestic work, women in the informal economy and the gendered division of labour. Resource person Ms Bénédicte Allaert from the WIDE Network and Ms Rabea Naciri will facilitate discussions respectively in Egypt and Morocco around concepts and indicators while participants will also receive sessions on using social media for awareness raising and advocacy.
Participants will also share their own experience working on women’s rights in various local contexts and will strategize on the next steps to follow to raise awareness on the issue of women’s work and reach labour gender equality and social justice.
As the region is undergoing so many upheavals and transitions, it has never been more important to keep women’s rights at the top of the agenda and carry on our struggle for gender equality that translates in policy and practice. Stay Tuned for updates on the workshops and discussion on women’s work!
The Collective for Research and Training on Development- Action (CRTD.A) has organised a seminar on the 12th of May on women’s informal work in Lebanon. This event is part of a debate initiatied in Lebanon for the first time by the CRTD.A, around the question of feminist economics and women’s work, and comes following a first seminar that took place in March 2012 around mainstream economic indicators and the ideologies underlying them. CRTD.A has been working in women’s economic empowerment for nearly a decade now, and is currently implementing a regional project in Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt and Jordan on women’s informal work and women’s participation to the economy in these four countries and on how to visibilise women’s work.
The seminar was moderated by Ms Lina Abou Habib, CRTD.A’s Executive Director while Dr Christina Wallace, resource person, introduced the concepts of informal work and domestic work and detailed what is currently being measured worldwide with regards to women’s work. This introduction was then narrowed down to the specificity of Lebanon and of how patriarchal attitudes and beliefs, coupled with the Lebanese sectarian system and neo-liberal policies, ensured that Lebanese women’s work was rarely valued and its contribution to the economy, seldom recognized.
The audience was composed of members of the Lebanese civil society and of the women’s movement, but also of women working in the cooperatives in different regions of Lebanon. Following Ms Wallace’s intervention, participants were broken up into groups to discuss what would be the next steps to take sure the situation in Lebanon pertaining to women’s work shifts in their favour.
We have recorded women’s replies and points of view with regards to what is women’s work and how it should be valued. We’re posting one video here, and you can watch them all on our YouTube Channel here
Feeling like seeing the photos? Meet us here
The report of the event is being finalised and CRTD.A will follow up on the main outcomes of the event with participants, to make sure a coherent strategy to visibilise women’s work. So stay tuned to updates here, and submit your feedback anytime!
The AWID Forum has come and gone, and it took us some time to process all the energy, commitment and reflection that happened from the 18th to the 22nd of April 2012.
The Collective for Research and Training on Development – Action (CRTD.A) wasn’t only a mere participant to the event: with a delegation of five people, it played an active role in the sessions, either by organizing break out or in-depth sessions, or by participating to panels or by asking questions and looking deeper into issues.
The theme of this AWID Forum was “Transforming Economic Powers to Advance Women’s Rights and Justice”, a key priority for the CRTD.A who has been working on issues of economic justice for women in the Middle East for the past ten years now, advocating for the economic empowerment of women via skills-building projects, the setting up and partnerships with cooperatives, facilitating their management and access to market for example. Besides, the CRTDA has recently started opening up the debate in Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt and Jordan on women’s work, the indicators measuring the work women do and its contribution to the economies of these four countries, as well as on women’s work in the informal sector.
These questions being central to the Forum, CRTD.A has been invited by the AWID Education Corner at the Forum to be part of a panel on sharing experiences on skills building sessions on women economic rights. The panel was shared with NGO workers, activists and academic from all over the world, includingIndia, theUSA, andBolivia. During this panel, CRTD.A was able to share its experience building the capacity of its constituency within the Sustainable Economic Opportunities for Women (SEOW2) project. It was interesting to study the similarities of experiences between the panelists despite the diversity of contexts: indeed, the global patriarchal system undermining women’s participation and contribution to the economy, along with the global conservative neo-liberal agendas impact all contexts present during the panel, which prompted panelists and the audience as a whole to have a conversation on what could be done to counteract the adverse effects on women of these two oppressive systems. While not one size-fits-all answer would be relevant, participants emphasized the need for solidarity and networking not only with and between national partners, but also among women’s rights defenders worldwide. The question of resources was also heavily debated, with the conundrum many NGOs and activists face: while donor funding is crucial to achieving sustainable work, it is also a form of dependence, and sometimes, imperialism, and civil society organizations should come up with alternative, independent ways of funding.
In that logic, the Resources Mobilization corner at the Forum provided a great platform to ask and discuss these questions.
CRTD.A organized as well a session on Collective Advocacy in Muslim-majority countries with panelists Bénédicte Allaert from the WIDE Network, Egyptian activist Amal Abdel Hadi and Tunisian activist and doctor Ahlem Belhaj. This session started with a presentation on the CRTD.A’s SEOW2 project, as the project is regional and deals with economic empowerment of women in four Muslim majority countries: therefore, examples of collective advocacy in such contexts were given from the CRTD.A’s perspective. Ms Allaert shared then with the audience the research she has been working on on mainstream indicators and the ideologies underlying them. What is being measured at a global and regional level? Are there some best practices from governments who actually measure and take into account women’s work? “We value what we measure” has been a good maxim to show the poor level of measuring women’s work, and therefore of valuing it. The example of Liberia, which integrates the contribution of women’s work in the informal economy within the active women statistics was a good illustration that alternative measurements of the economy are possible and that the GDP-based, classical model did not reflect the reality of many Southern economies, and more particularly, the reality of many Middle Eastern contexts, where women account for roughly 70% of the informal work force, if not more.
Amal Abdel Hadi and Ahlem Belhaj spoke about the specific context of revolutionaryEgyptandTunisia, and on how women’s work remained invisible despite the change in regime and despite women being so active and present during the uprisings. Vigilance with regards to the pervasive patriarchal agenda seemed to be their words of warning for the future. Many questions were asked by a predominantly Middle Eastern and North African audience, notably on the issue of Qiwama and dialogues lasted long after the session was over, with ,many contacts being exchanged to carry on the conversation and collective action.
One of the innovation of this edition of the Forum was the organization of in-depth sessions, allowing for a strong focus on a certain topic, running for three hours and a half every day of the forum, a bit like an intensive lecture/participatory session. CRTD.A took active part in this pilot by co-organising with its partner the Women’s Learning Partnership the in-depth session on women’s rights and transition democracy in the MENA region. After a plenary in which Rabea Naciri from Morocco and Asma Khader from Jordan spoke about the constitutional processes and changes in the region, participants broke into groups to discuss constitutional reforms, the role of media and social media in making women’s claims visible and processes on transitional justice. I was lucky to be part of the group on constitutional reforms: it felt incredibly empowering sitting at the heart of a women’s cluster, reflecting and suggesting strategies on the core laws and processes of the countries of the region.
Women’s invisibility and the lack of gender perspective in the current constitutional assemblies (notably in Tunisia and Egypt) lead us to emphasize the need first of all of popular education on the importance of constitutional reforms and second of all, on the absolute necessity to have assemblies of women drafting their own version of the Constitution. The issue of negotiations with conservative powers came up: as feminists, where should we draw the line? What are the non negotiable? Should we have a long term vision and keep our radical agenda and invest on education and awareness-raising or should we cede on some points in the short to mid-term to insert ourselves in the debates and decisions? But if we do, would that keep the integrity of our thoughts and vision or who would be compromising the aims of our struggle? There are no clear cut, one size-fits-all answer to these questions, they take in-depth research, historical perspective, thinking and anticipation, input from different experiences and expertise to have a clearer picture of how to influence and shape the society we hope to see and want. We are still working on what the ideal gender sensitive constitution would be, but Rabea Naciri outlined some relevant, core points that Constitutions in post revolution countries should include, such as clarity of language and terminology so as to prevent any harmful-to-women interpretations and explicit prohibition of any type of discrimination based on gender on top of calling for substantive gender equality. Constitutions should also specifically speak to the rights of political opposition and mention and include civil society and its contribution to society as a whole.
CRTD.A’s delegation was also very active on social media, linking online then offline with partners, following sessions that were relevant to their work but also sessions that were related to issues of women’s rights they might not have been familiar with in order to build their own capacity, initiative new contacts and widen their perspectives and reflections.
The AWID Forum has been a whirlwind of events, sessions, conversations and experiences, and CRTD.A felt proud to be a part of this event, and to carry on the work and priorities it has set for itself, feeling stronger now more than ever having this visit to the Feminist family.