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UN conducts outreach in Egyptian cities to issue ID cards to women

Some 117,000 Egyptian women have received ID cards giving them access to public services and the ability to vote, apply for jobs and open a bank account. (UN Women/ Fatma Elzahraa Yassin)

A national identification card is essential to life in Egypt. It’s required to vote, apply for jobs, open bank accounts, enroll children in school and arrange valid marriage contracts. It’s also needed for critical government services, such as public hospitals and literacy programs.

Yet millions of women in poor urban neighborhoods and villages lack this staple, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

A UN initiative launched in 2011 seeks to make the national ID cards available to more women. Participating cities include Alexandria, Assiut, Aswan, Giza and Souhag. The effort is part of a larger program that aims to strengthen democracy in Egypt.

Mobile registration booths and a public awareness campaign help spread the word to marginalized woman. As of July 2014, the program has issued ID cards to 117,000 women and registered another quarter million, the UNDP reports.

United Nations

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