Egyptian women have been constrained from entering local-level politics by the lack of finances, domestic responsibilities, or social pressures. However, the current Egyptian constitution offers a huge opportunity for women to be members of the LPCs as Article 180 stipulates that women should occupy 13,500 seats. This is a considerable step forward, knowing that only 2335 women were elected in the 2008 LPC, 4.4% of the total local council members. Seizing this opportunity, Tadwein designed a programme to encourage and support the effective participation of women in the Egyptian local councils.
The programme specific objectives are to:
- Promote and exercise more effective decentralization policies.
- Create more spaces for women to effectively occupy political and public spaces.
- Fight social stigmas regarding women’s presence and participation in political spaces.
- Provide better representation of youth in the formal political channels.
- Address issues of violence against women at the local level.
The project was conducted from June 2017 to April 2018. By the end of the project, Tadwein effectively trained 320 young women from 7 governorates and provided them with an in-depth understanding of women’s issues in their respective governorates. The training, along with other activities, enabled women to project a clear and informed voice by defining the outlines of political participation beyond its classical definition and integrating it with a gender transforming perspective. The project’s publications included: a digest on the importance of women’s participation in local councils and a training manual on the effective participation of women in local councils. Also, several short videos were developed to highlight the importance of women’s participation in the local councils.
The outcomes of this project were publicized at the “Towards Effective Participation of Egyptian Women in the Local Councils” conference, which was held in Cairo on Tuesday, April 24th, 2018.
“The Local Councils are Ours” is a simplified introductory booklet that aims to provide basic information about the local councils, by explaining the local councils’ constitution’s articles, clarifying their duties and responsibilities, trying to link the local development programs and the needs of women in Egypt.