Gender Quotas Database

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Northern Africa

Egypt has a Bicameral parliament with legislated quotas for the single/lower house and upper house and at the sub-national level. 164 of 596 (28%) seats in the Majlis Al-Nuwab / House of Representatives are held by women.

At a glance

Structure of parliament Bicameral

Are there legislated quotas

For the Single / Lower house? Yes
For the Upper house? Yes
For the Sub-national level? Yes

Are there voluntary quotas?

Adopted by political parties? No
Is there additional information? Yes

Single / Lower House

Majlis Al-Nuwab / House of Representatives

Upper House

Magles el-shiyoukh / Senate

Quota at the Sub-National Level

Voluntary Political Party Quotas*

* Only political parties represented in parliament are included. When a country has legislated quotas in place, only political parties that have voluntary quotas that exceed the percentage/number of the national quota legislation are presented in this table.

Additional information


Article 11 of the newly adopted Constitution of Egypt (adopted through a referendum in January 2014) provides that ”The State shall ensure the achievement of equality between women and men in all civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution. The State shall take the necessary measures to ensure the appropriate representation of women in the houses of representatives, as specified by Law. The State shall also guarantee women’s right of holding public and senior management offices in the State and their appointment in judicial bodies and authorities without discrimination”. In spite of demands by many women’s organizations to assign a "quota" for women in parliament, the 50-Member Committee refused to approve a quota for any societal group or religious sect in parliament. However, in a positive development, Article 180 of the new Constitution assigns a quota of "one quarter of the seats" for women in the elected local councils. This is considered a positive step on the road to achieving women’s representation.

2011- 2012 Elections Background

In the Nov 2011-Jan 2012 elections to the new Egyptian parliament, only 8 women (1.8 %) were elected. The supreme council of the military forces (SCAF) appointed additional 10 MPs, whereof 2 are women, bringing women's overall share to 2.2 %.

The reserved seat system from the 2010 election was abandoned. Instead, in the new parallel electoral system, parties were obliged to nominate at least one woman as part of their district candidate lists which they have to submit for the 46 districts electing 332 seats contested through a PR system.

Reserved seats in the 2010-elections

The Law 38 of 1972 concerning the Egyptian People's Assembly (Lower House) was amended in June 2009 to provide 64 seats to which the nominations was restricted to women only. The total number of parliamentary seats was enhanced accordingly. From 28 governorates two women was elected, one of whom represented labourers and farmers, in accordance with the at the time present 50 percent quota provision for these groups. In Cairo and Alexandria, due to the higher population, in total 8 more seats was added. The law only applied to the Lower House.

In 2007, Article 62 of the Egypt Constitution was amended: "The law ... may also stipulate a minimum representation of women in the afore-mentioned councils [People's Assembly, the Shura Council and local councils]".

In 1979, Egypt adopted a guaranteed representation formula reserving 30 seats (out of 360 seats) for women in parliament. In late 1986, however, this quota for women was cancelled in a general revision of the electoral laws.

On 17 October 2020, by virtue of the decree 590 of the year 2020, the President of the Republic appointed 100 members of the Senate, 20 of them were women. This raised the number of women in the Senate to 40 out of 300. The elections preceded the decree, and were on two rounds: the first from 9 to 12 August 2020 and the second from 6 to 9 September 2020.



Legal Sources:

  • Constitution of Egypt - Link
  • Election Law (amended through 2020) - Link
  • Political Parties Law - Link
  • Electoral Legislations - Link
Other Sources:

Additional reading

  • See the latest updates on Egypt on iKNOW Politics
  • European Institute of the Mediterranean. April 1, 2017. Women's political participation in Egypt: Perspectives from Giza.
  • Organistation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD] & National Council for Women [NCW]. 2018. Women's political participation in Egypt. Barriers, opportunities and gender sensitivity of select political institutions.
  • Abou-Zeid, G. ‘Introducing Quotes in Africa: Discourse in Egypt’, paper presented at The Implementation of Quotas: African Experiences, Pretoria, November 2003.
  • Abou-Zeid, G. 2002. ‘In Search of Political Power-Women in Parliament in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon’, in A. Karam (ed.) Women in Parliament: Beyond Numbers, Stockholm: International IDEA.
  • Tamale, S. 1999. When Hens Begin to Crow: Gender and Parliamentary Politics in Uganda. Colorado: Westview Press.
  • Inter-Parliamentary Union. 1997. Democracy Still in the Making: A World Comparative Study. Geneva: Inter-Parliamentary Union.
  • Howard-Merriam, K. 1990. ‘Guaranteed Seats for Political Representation of Women: The Egyptian Example’, in Women and Politics. Vol. 10, 1. pp.17-42.
  • Egypt Parliament website,

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