This study investigates to what extent the UN contributed to effective gender mainstreaming in Egypt with a special focus on political participation as voters post 2011. This study assesses the "Women's Citizenship Initiative" through presenting achievements, challenges, the way forward and recommendations. In the past six years, Egypt went through two parliamentary elections, two presidential elections in addition to 3 Constitutional referendums which witnessed high level of women participation as voters.In the last Presidential Elections, 44 % of the voters were women. In Egypt, the UN attempted to provide support to strengthen the democratic process which was mainly focused on voter education and public outreach; upgrading the technical and operational capacity of national electoral authorities; and enhancing the participation of female voters. A literature review was conducted followed by 28 interviews with Ministers, representatives from the concerned ministries, other government agencies, UN agencies, and stakeholders, NGOs in addition to activists, politicians, and women coalitions and women beneficiaries in addition a field visit in Qalyoubia. This study analyzes the "Women's Citizenship Initiative" through using the Gender mainstreaming approach which reveals several shortcomings and challenges that faced the Women's Citizenship Initiative such as the revolution and the security vacuum; frequent ministerial changes; lengthy process for issuing ID Cards; conflict and struggle among different entities and absence of leadership; resource mobilization; unrealistic target; difficulty in reaching women and changing the mindset of women; limited capacities and poor performance; and absence of birth certificates. This study is concluded by a set of policy recommendations to guide the way forward. The findings of the study suggest that given the political endorsement of the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, to the initiative and increasing government commitment to issue five million national identification ID cards instead of two million over a period of three years (2016-2019) there must be an allocated state budget for this initiative and the issuance of ID cards should be free of charge-there is a need for gender budgeting-to be able to continue this initiative and meet the target; there must be investing in the National Women Machinery to strengthen their capacity to absorb the demand for women to issue their ID Cards in a timely and responsive manner; mainstreaming the Women's Citizenship Initiative in other national programmes ,meaning that no national programmes without ID cards it should be linked to all national programmes such as Takaful and Karam and other programme that are attractive to women; link ID cards to other functions such as the issuance of birth certificates by adding the mother’s ID number to the birth certificate of her child; expanding partnerships between NCW and other national institutions that support women as well as local NGOs; stronger Monitoring and Evaluation mechanisms in the national implementing entity to be able to track the progress,follow up, document and report on activities; establishing national databse that will inform future policy formulation through empowering women; ensure that the preexisiting gap of women with no IDs is not only closed but also complemented by the issuance of birth certificates and a systematic way to receive their ID cards when at the age of 16; consider the use of ICT with the upscaling of the Women's Citizenship Inititiave so that women can use it to get services from government. Due to the above mentioned challenges the Women's Citizenship Initiative did not contribute largely in increasing the number of women voters but still it is an example of the UN approach to Gender Mainstreaming and succeeded in raising the awareness and also played a role in capacity building which leads to a responsive decision making of the government.


Public Policy & Administration Department

Degree Name

MA in Public Policy

Graduation Date


Submission Date

May 2017

First Advisor

El Baradei, Laila

Committee Member 1

Morsy, Maya

Committee Member 2

Abdel Halim, Khaled


139 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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