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Gender bias in economic policies


Factors responsible for a gender bias in economic policies include:

The sexual division of labor. Some kinds of work are socially constituted as 'women's work' while others are 'men's work', as a result of social values and the division of labor inside and outside the household.

Woman Sewing

The invisibility of 'women's work'. Much women's work is implicitly or explicitly ignored or excluded by economic policies, for example, the unpaid work required for the process of reproduction and maintenance of human resources, and work done by women outside the home to help their husbands, especially in the agricultural sector.

The disproportionate effect of some policies on women. Because women traditionally have responsibility for household management, policies that increase the household cost of living may impact women more severely than men. (Nassar, H. 1997)


Poverty conditions

 The status of female-headed households in Egypt illustrates women's vulnerability to poverty. Female-headed households in Egypt are estimated to make up about 22% of households. Most studies on female-headed households found that employment is a mechanism for coping with household poverty and with the increasing cost of living.
More Details on Poverty in Egypt
  El Laithy, Heba (2000). “The Gender Dimensions of Poverty. Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University.
  Nassar, Heba (1997). "Vulnerability of Women to Poverty". A Paper presented in Workshop on Social Security and Income Generation Projects for Vulnerable Groups with special focus on Working Children and Female Headed House-Holds: The Social Research Center, The American University In Cairo



Educational conditions


There are strong links between educational conditions in Egypt and the situation of women in the labor market.

Among the most important factors are:

Rates of illiteracy remain high especially among girls and women, and in rural areas.

Structural adjustment policies are negatively affecting the educational opportunities of girls, especially in poor families. When families can't afford the costs of education, daughters are more likely to be kept out of school than sons.

Career-oriented and vocational education is often inappropriate or inadequate to prepare girls for employment, especially in rural areas.

Boys have more vocational training opportunities than girls, as a result of the division of schooling by sex.

In vocational training, girls more typically learn traditional female subjects like dressmaking, art, ceramics, and child care.

Inadequate vocational training for women has left them in a weak position in the labor market, especially after ERSAP.

Women in higher education in Egypt tend to study traditionally women's fields like humanities, social sciences, education and medicine, which has then been reflected in their occupational choices in the labor market.

Middle-class educated and employed women have been responsible for most progressive social changes in Egyptian society. (El-Baradei, M. 1997)
 For more information, Visit the SRC Resource Site on Female Education in Egypt.

Legal and social conditions


Legally Egyptian women are in a better position than women in many other societies. At the same time, social tradition and prevailing norms reinforce gender discrimination and the division of labor in the home and the marketplace, and hence undervalue the education of girls and their engagement in economic activities outside the house.  (El Safty, M. 1997)



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