Egypt: Ashton, ID cards a basic step for women's rights too

Additional 4 mln from EU to aid the poor and against violence

23 July, 14:56

(ANSAmed) - BRUSSELS, JULY 23 - EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton has announced 4 million euros of new funding for women's rights in Egypt, bringing EU support on gender equality in the country to 11 euros million.

According to the Enpi website (www.enpi-info.eu), Ashton said the money would be used ''to support the ID cards project that we have heard about to two million women across the country. It is the first and basic step to enjoy basic rights as an individual. We want to provide financial support to 18,000 poor women living in rural areas and 3,000 women living in the most impoverished areas of Cairo; and to work to reduce violence against women especially in urban areas'' she said in her speech.

EU want to help promote women's participation in political life, to help with legal support to victims of violence, ''we want to help women in remote areas to learn about their rights and promote their access to microcredit and so on'' said the High Representative.

However Ashton also cautioned that a lot still needed to be done. According to the High Representative ''the proposed amendments to the Personal Status Laws, the lack of language on gender equality or women's rights in the new Egyptian Provisional Constitution, the attempts to decriminalise Female Genital Mutilation are some worrying developments. This is why there is a need for strong Egyptian institutions, like the National Council for Women, working to protect and support women's rights''.

''The scarce representation of women in the ministries, their exclusion from leadership and political positions, and their small representation, only 2%, in the Egyptian Parliament show the many challenges ahead'' she noted. (ANSAmed)
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