Senior Female Figures support Egypt in tackling discrimination

By British Embassy Cairo

A senior retired policewoman and two senior female judges from the UK have arrived in Cairo to support Egyptian and international efforts to tackle discrimination against women.

Retired Chief Inspector Jane Townsley, Judge Frances Kirkham, and Judge Isobel Plumstead are in Egypt to participate in a conference organised by the Ministry of Justice, the National Council Women, UN Women and UNODC aimed at “combating Discrimination Against Women in the Judicial System”.

Ms Townsley, Judge Kirkham, and Judge Plumstead will share their experiences as women leaders in the British police and the British judicial system. They will be discussing why it is important for women to hold leadership positions in the law and justice sector and the challenges they have faced through their careers.

The aim of the conference is to support efforts to put women's constitutional rights into practice and to counter discrimination against women in the law and justice sector.

Dr Maya Morsy, President of the National Council for Women, is be amongst the conference's opening speakers. Other participants also include Professor Hoda el-Sadda who was a member of the constitutional drafting committee.

British Deputy Ambassador Helen Winterton said:

I am very happy to welcome these three British women to Egypt. They are inspiring leaders in their fields and they show that no job, no position of leadership, no opportunity should be closed to women because of their sex.

I hope that their expertise and experience helps inspire Egyptian women in government and civil society, and helps end discrimination against women in the law and justice sector.

Egypt's constitution includes important guarantees of women's rights. But there is still more work to be done: women's participation in the job market is just 23% compared to 72% for men; levels of violence and sexual harassment against women are still way too high.

I am proud that we are supporting courageous Egyptian women who are striving for the goal of a safer and more prosperous Egypt for all.

A UN Women report from 2013 found that 99% of women in Egypt have experienced sexual harassment. The Egypt Demographic and Health Survey from 2014 found that 3 out of 10 ever-married women have suffered some form of violence from their partners.