Thursday,21 June, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1330, (2 - 8 February 2017)
Thursday,21 June, 2018
Issue 1330, (2 - 8 February 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Women rule

zoom in on two women from Upper Egypt who have become heads of city councils

Ibrahim and Hassan
Ibrahim and Hassan

A competition held last week by the Ministry of Local Development resulted in nine women from across the governorates winning leading positions in administrative posts. While some became village mayors a few years ago, this was the first time Egyptian women got to be heads of city councils.

Hoda Hassan, delegated from the office of the Red Sea governorate in Qena to run youth employment affairs, is now head of the Quos city council, south of Qena — Egypt’s second capital during the Fatimid era and home to a Pharaonic and Arab legacy. Fatma Ibrahim, an engineer, is now head of the historic city council of Abu Simbel in Aswan. The pair come from Qena governorate in Upper Egypt.

President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi decided to brand Aswan the Capital of African Economics and Culture on the occasion of the discovery of the Abu Simbel Temple 200 years ago.

Hassan obtained her Masters degree in economics from New Valley University in Qena. She was head of development projects in the Red Sea governorate, covering education, volunteering and shantytown development. She also headed the Youth Employment Authority in Qena.

Ibrahim, born in Qaft village in Qena, is the first Egyptian woman to head a city council. “The key to my success is my father,” she told Al-Ahram Weekly. “He was illiterate but he believed in the importance of education. He helped me continue the journey until I graduated from the Faculty of Engineering at Assiut University.”

In the 1990s Ibrahim worked in local development, in charge of the industrial zone in Qena. “The then governor of Qena Safwat Shaker was surprised to find a woman working in the industrial zone which was a vast desert, 11 kilometres away from my home. After a few years I managed to turn the industrial zone into an independent administration with 61 industrial projects including solar energy.”

In Qaft, Ibrahim became popular especially after then investment minister Mahmoud Mohieddin, currently vice president of the Commercial International Bank, described Ibrahim in parliament as “a woman worth a million men” after she persuaded investors to flock to Qaft. As a result, Qaft got to have its own local administration to beat bureaucracy and government obstacles.

Subsequently, the industrial zone of Kalahin in Qena obtained a $500 million loan from the World Bank for the development of Qena and Sohag governorates.

Ibrahim told the Weekly she has so much to offer in her new post, especially in tourism. “Abu Simbel has big annual events like the sun illuminating the face of King Ramses III in the temple’s inner sanctum.”

Events such as this, Ibrahim added, will surely boost tourism in the city when properly marketed.

Ibrahim is on the lookout for the next competition, which will also be organised by the Ministry of Local Development, to move ahead in her career, believing that “efficiency, innovation and creativity are the keys to success.”

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