Workshop on Women’s Invisible Work: Taking Steps Forward in Egypt-25 and 26 June 2012

Mon, 06/25/2012

Amidst the turmoil and transformations sweeping the Arab region, many women and men are now wondering what will happen with their initial and legitimate demands which sparkled the revolts and the advent of what is now known as the “Arab Spring”. Since December 2010, women and men took the streets and demanded justice, dignity, an end to corruption and the right to have rights. Yet, over the past few months, and with the coming of new mainstream political forces, little is being said about the ways in which new governments will resolve endemic economic problems, put in place employment-generating policies as well as address dramatic wealth disparities especially amidst a flailing public sector that has been unable to secure citizen’s basic rights. This was the backdrop against which the Collective for Research and Training on Development – Action organized, within the framework of its regional project entitled “Sustainable Economic Opportunities for Women” (funded by Oxfam-Novib) a workshop on women’s economic rights and livelihoods on June 25th and 26th 2012 at the Association of “Upper Egypt for Education and Development”, Cairo- Egypt Thirty participants from several associations working on women’s economic participation via various strategies took part in this capacity building workshop. The workshop included a knowledge component which introduced participants to key concepts unpacked and discussed from a gendered perspective. These included concepts such as women’s formal versus informal work, women’s visible versus invisible work and women’s paid versus unpaid work in addition to the issue of women’s care work. The policy implication of current mainstream and gender blind definitions was also addressed. The workshop also looked critically at the issue of mainstream economic indicators and the results of failing to capture women’s work as well as the impact of the social crisis on women. A considerable part of the workshop was used to reflect on the current situation of Egypt and the ways in which the participants can use this knowledge, both individually and collectively to a) engage in further fact finding; b) transfer this knowledge to others and c) articulate clear and well argued advocacy initiative targeting the new government of Egypt. The workshop included a session to introduce participants to social media devised to serve the project and the ways this can be used to monitor economic policies, share and communicate knowledge and experience and further the project’s advocacy component. Further information about this activity and others of the Sustainable Economic Opportunities for Women Programme can be found on http://womeneconomicrights.wordpress.com/