Monday, 19 March 2012

Campaign aims to issue national IDs for 2 million Egyptian women

CAIRO: A national campaign to issue national IDs for 2 million Egyptian women kicked off in Qaliubiya, dubbed “Your National ID: Your Rights.”

“Our objective is to issue IDs for women so they can practice their political rights and have access to a variety of services such as education, healthcare and other social rights,” said Ashraf Abdel Wahab, who is delegated with the responsibilities of the deputy minister of state for administrative development.

“By having national IDs, these women will be included in the national data from which we work on providing citizens with the services they need,” he added.

The campaign is a partnership between the Ministries of State for Administrative Development, Interior and Foreign Affairs, the Social Fund for Development, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and UN Women.

Its target is to issue national IDs for 2 million women in rural areas in the coming three years. A total of 4 million women in Egypt do not have national IDs.

“The first step in political participation is having an ID through which [women] will have a say in the decision making process and shaping policies,” said UNDP Country Coordinator, Mounir Sabet.

“It is important to reach all 4 million women… If we count them in a family with three children, it is likely that 20 million people will not have birth certificates and IDs,” said Maya Morsy, country coordinator of UN Women in Egypt.

Through the campaign, teams from the Civil Affairs Authority will tour different governorates and reach out to women in their homes to obtain the documents necessary to issue national IDs.

“We are providing this service at no cost to citizens,” said General Mohamed Naguib Ma’atouk, head of the Civil Affairs Authority of the Ministry of Interior.

Once the ID is issued, the governorate will be responsible for distributing the cards to the women.

“This is not just a campaign to issue IDs to be put in a wallet — it’s the first step for these women in claiming and guaranteeing their civil and political rights,” said Qaliubiya Governor Adly Zayed. The campaign is planning to issue 150,000 IDs in his governorate.

Zayed highlighted the “developmental role of women” and said national IDs will allow these women to be included in the national statistics, studies and strategies.

Morsy explained that having an ID places the women on the decision-making map. But while this will allow women to practice full citizenship rights, this cannot be limited to merely obtaining an ID.