Egypt has always regarded rights for women as an important element in the development of Egyptian society. Women are very visible in all walks of modern Egyptian life and are treated as equal members of society. In fact, Egypt's parliament recently passed a law allocating a quota of 64 seats in the lower house to women, in an effort to promote women's role in modern Egyptian society. The new law will give women more than 12 percent of the seats in an expanded parliament after the next election in 2010.


Voting and Public Positions


• The percentage of women registered for voting increased from 18 percent in 1986 to 39.8 percent in 2007;
• In 2003, a woman was made a justice on the Supreme Constitutional Court by presidential decree, officially making her the country's first-ever female judge;
• In 2007, 30 women were appointed as judges presiding over family courts;
• Recently, Egypt's parliament passed a law allocating a quota of 64 seats in the lower house to women, thus giving women more than 12 percent of the seats in an expanded parliament after the next election in 2010. In comparison, women make up 17 percent of the U.S. Congress. Conversely, Egypt's neighbors do not have female representation of that level: women make up 8 percent of Kuwait's parliament and hold 2 percent of the parliament seats in Lebanon;
• 25.7% of top management positions in the state are held by women
• The proportion of women holding public office increased from 7 percent in 1988 to 23.5 percent in 2003.
• The first woman cabinet minister was appointed in 1962. Ever since, women have been assigned at least one or two portfolios in each cabinet. Currently, three women serve in the cabinet: Minister of Manpower and Immigration Aisha Abdel-Hady Abdel-Ghany, Minister of International Cooperation Fayza Abul Naga and Minister of State for Family and Population Mosheera Mahmoud Khattab.
• In 2008, Egypt became the first country in the Muslim World to appoint a female wedding officer (Maazun) to undertake Muslim marriage procedures.


Women and Education


• Women account for 49 percent of students enrolled in universities and higher education institutions;
• Total enrollment rate of females in all the stages of pre-university education showed higher levels than those for male enrollment in 2004-2005;
• In the middle of the 20th century, Cairo's al-Azhar University, the second oldest university in the world still in operation, underwent a series of reforms that led to, amongst other things, the opening of a women's college.


Women's Health


• Egypt has succeeded in achieving significant reduction in the maternal mortality ratio, mortality rates have declined from 84 per thousand in 2000 to 62.7 per thousand in 2006.
• In 2001, the Ministry of Health and Population in collaboration with USAID started implementing a National Maternal Mortality Surveillance System (NMMSS);
• There was a significant increase in the proportions of mothers assisted at delivery by medical provider - from 61.5 percent in 2000 to 78.6 percent in 2006;
• There was also a significant increase in the proportions of women who delivered in health facilities - from 48.2 percent in 2000 to 64.6 percent in 2005;
• The contraceptive prevalence rate has shown an increasing trend over time: from 47.6 percent in 1991 to 56.1 percent in 2000 then to 59.2 percent in 2005;
• The percentage of women who gave birth at an age younger than 18 decreased from 23.7 in 1992 to 20.4 in 2000 then to 15.8 in 2005.