Maya Morsi took office as President of Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW) on 1 February 2016. Upon re- formation of the NCW on 19 January 2016, members of the council elected her to serve as the third president of the NCW since it was established in 2000. The NCW is the highest national machinery entrusted with formulating and monitoring national plans for the advancement of women in Egypt, and providing policy options and advice in all fields related to the development and empowerment of women to enable them to play their rightful and essential roles in society and integrate their efforts in comprehensive national development programs. The NCW is an autonomous body that has an independent legal status, reporting directly to the President of Egypt. It comprises thirty members selected from among public figures with experience in women’s affairs and social issues, and assigned by presidential decree to serve for a period of three years, subject to renewal.
Prior to joining the NCW, Maya Morsi had served, since 2013, As Regional Advisor on Gender Policies and Programmes in the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Regional Centre for Arab States in Cairo. She was responsible for providing policy advice and technical support for women’s empowerment and gender mainstreaming in planning and public budgets, as well as the formulation, monitoring and evaluation of regional and national strategies and plans for the advancement of women across the Arab region. A wide range of a regional partners benefitted from her services, including the League of Arab States and the Organization of Arab Women, alongside many partners at national level, including government agencies, civil society organizations and national councils for women and similar national mechanisms for the advancement of women’s affairs, in all Arab countries.
Maya Morsi’s career spans more than twenty years of dedicated service to the advancement of women and defending their fundamental rights. She served as Head of the Egypt Country Office of the United Nations Fund For Women –UNIFEM (2000-2013); UNIFEM Project Coordinator (1999-2000); Consultant for the Girls Education and Empowerment Project of the Ministry of Education in Egypt (1998-1999); and Project Officer in the Sustainable Human Development Platform for Action and Monitoring, implemented by UNDP in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Administration in Egypt (1995-1998). Prior to that she served as Academic Facilitator in the Public Administration and Communication Joint Program between City University of Seattle and the Arab Academy of Science and Technology of the League of Arab States (1997-1998).
Over her long career Maya Morsi contributed to many pioneering initiatives, including the formulation of the Arab Strategy for Women, Peace and Security, the Regional Strategy for Combating Violence against Arab Women, and the Arab Plan of Action for the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), including the development of specific indicators to monitor implementation. She also advised and assisted relevant authorities in a number of Arab countries, including Egypt, in the development of gender-responsive national plans and budgets. In Egypt, she contributed to the design and implementation of many national initiatives and projects aimed at the advancement of women, including projects to support women’s economic empowerment and security, providing them with small loans and training to increase productivity; initiatives for women’s literacy focusing on poorest governorates; girls’ education initiatives (one-class room and community schools); programs for the political empowerment of women and training/provision of technical support to women Parliamentarians; the establishment of a Women’s Media Observatory; Safe Cities Project promoting public spaces that are free of violence against women and girls; the national project to combat female genital mutilation; and the establishment and training of Equal Opportunity Units in line ministries, and initiatives promoting equal opportunity within private sector companies.
In 2008, Maya Morsi received a Ph.D. in Public Policy with a focus on the human security of Arab women from the Institute of Arab Studies and Research of the League of Arab States. She completed two Master’s degrees at the City University of Seattle, USA, in Business Administration (1998) and Public Administration (1997), after receiving a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Political Science from the American University in Cairo (1995), with a minor in Mass Communication (Journalism).
Maya Morsi has authored and contributed to many studies and books, which focused on various aspects of the advancement of women in Egypt and the Arab region, including issues of human security of Arab women; gender-responsive public budgets; the integration of gender perspectives in agricultural activities in Egypt; gender-sensitive urban planning; and strategies for empowering Arab women and eliminating gender-based discrimination in accordance with commitments of Arab countries to the CEDAW and Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women,Peace and Security.