Egypt’s Financial Regulatory Authority steps up efforts to increase women’s representation


In recent weeks, the country’s Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) issued a declaration to all companies under its supervision including companies listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange (EGX) and the non-banking financial sector to include at least one woman on their boards by the end of the year.

The declaration affirms the FRA’s decisions numbers 123 and 124 which were issued last year, encouraging companies to meet the December 31, 2020 deadline to “avoid any measures that the authority may take in the event of failure to do so.”

It comes after the FRA issued decision number 50 back in March also stipulating that boards of directors of companies operating in the field of non-banking financial activities shall include at least one female member by the end of the year.

To raise awareness of the quality and competence of women professionals, on November 29, the FRA’s chairman, Mohamed Omran, announced the launch of the FRA Women Leadership Awards 2020 for women who perform distinguishingly in the fields of capital markets, the stock exchange, finance, insurance and manufacturing.

The raised awareness is intended to encourage and expedite the recruitment of women professionals to company boards in order to meet the minimum 30 percent target by 2030 as part of the Egyptian government’s 2030 vision.

To further facilitate the recruitment of women professionals, the FRA launched a smartphone application called “Empowering Women”, a database of women qualified and ready to fill positions on corporate boards. The database will act as a recruitment platform where companies can more easily head hunt female executives.

On December 17, the Women on Boards Observatory (WoB) of the American University in Cairo’s (AUC) School of Business revealed that its own “Board Ready Women” database had now boasted more than 400 women qualified to serve on company boards, with at least 150 women already having board experience. Prospective women executives can be added to the databse by filling out an online application.

Established in 2017, the WoB is a consortium initiated by the AUC School of Business which aims to increase women’s representation on company boards across many of Egypt’s sectors, as well as partnering in efforts taking place across the Middle East and North Africa.

Supporting the FRA’s efforts, the WoB also offers board placement services to listed companies under the authority’s supervision where they can submit an online request detailing the relevant experiences, skills and competencies they require in a prospective woman executive. These efforts are in the interest of helping these companies to comply with the FRA’s stipulation that at least one woman should be serving on their boards by the end of 2020.

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