For the first time in Egypt’s history, six female ministers occupied seats in the cabinet, representing nearly 20 percent of the cabinet.
In a cabinet reshuffle on Sunday, Inas Abdel-Dayem was chosen to be the new minister of Culture over Helmy el-Namnam and Rania al-Mashat has replaced Minister of Tourism Yahia Rashid.
The cabinet reshuffle included four ministries: Culture, Tourism, Local Development and Public Enterprise.
Rania al-Mashat: Tourism’s new hope
The new minister received her PHD at the age of 20, she became the youngest intern at the IMF three years later, and it was then that she realized her career objective was to join the global financial organization. In November, ET editor Yasmine Hassan interviewed then IMF advisor Rania el-Mashat as an example of successful Egyptian women who have overcome all barriers to assume some of the highest positions in international organisations.
A leading global economist, Mashat’s role with the IMF has been focused on strengthening global monetary policy frameworks and financial stability analyses, working closely with the chief economist of the IMF. “The responsibilities are designed to tap into years of experience managing Egypt’s macroeconomic transition in the most challenging periods of its recent history,” she told Egypt Today.
When counting the biggest milestones in her life, she holds in high regard the opportunity to come back to Egypt to play a role in the government in 2005, she worked at the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) at a time of political and economic transformation. Despite enjoying and excelling at her job at the IMF, she quickly responded to an offer by the then-Minister of Investment Mahmoud Mohieldin to return to Cairo and participate in the CBE’s reform effort.
She joined the CBE at the age of 30, and a few years later, in 2012, became the youngest subgovernor in the CBE’s history. “Serving Egypt by contributing to policies that would make the riches of the Nile flow to all its citizens is not only a mission, it is a passion,” she says.
After 11 years of managing Egypt’s economic transition, Mashat returned to the IMF in August 2016 at a management-level job, and became involved in supporting the IMF’s multilateral surveillance activities across emerging markets all over the world. “I think the experience I have always surprises people by being a capable, Arab woman,” Mashat says, stressing how Egyptian women have, on more than one occasion, changed the perception about Arab and Middle Eastern women and denounced the stereotypes of not being very vocal or keen on education.
Inas Abdel-Dayem: art and culture visionary
The Head of Cairo Opera House Inas Abdel-Dayem, was chosen to be the new minister of Culture instead of Helmy el-Namnam. The prestigious international flute player received her master’s with honors in the flute from the High Music School in Paris. She was the former dean of the conservatoire and the former head of the Cairo Symphony Orchestra in 2003.
Throughout 2017, women have gained more rights in several fields with the support of the government. Women in Egypt managed to accomplish more at the political and decision-making levels. The Feb. 2017 Cabinet reshuffle included nine new portfolios, one of which was occupied by Hala al-Saeed, minister of planning. Furthermore, the Ministry of Investment and the Ministry of International Cooperation have been merged to become the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation headed by Sahar Nasr, thus keeping her as the head of four ministries. This is in addition to the already appointed Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali and the Minister of Immigration Nabila Makram.
Ghada Wali: women of solidarity
Since the reshuffle affected only four ministeries, Ghada Wali will continue as the minister of Social Solidarity. Assigned to the position in 2014, Wali adopted different initiatives that addressed needs of marginalized groups nationwide such as “Takaful w Karama,” she also worked to reduce levels of unemployment and poverty with similar projects.
Sahar Nasr: force behind investment influx
Nasr is among the four female ministers who will remain in their post. She assumes the merged Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation. She is considered one of the most active officials in Sherif Ismail’s cabinet after she managed to attract many grants, foreign loans to Egypt, which were in return used to accomplish developmental projects.
Hala el-Saeed: Egypt’s strategic planner
El-Saeed has been in her position as the Minister of Planning for less than a year as she sworn in in the previous cabinet reshuffle in February 2017. Previously, she was the first elected dean of the Faculty of Economics and Political Science at Cairo University in October 2011. She also participated in setting the national microfinance strategy in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Nabila Makram: Expartiate’s rights-defender
Minister of Immigration Nabila Makram has played a prominent role in solving Egyptian expatriates’ problems abroad. She has stroked deals with police committees abroad to facilitate the process of issuing official papers and housing procedures for Egyptians, in addition to opening training centers for expatriates.