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Young People’s Gender Role Attitudes Over the Transition to Adulthood in Egypt


  • May Gadallah

    () (Cairo University)

  • Rania Roushdy
  • Maia Sieverding


Change in gender role attitudes is a neglected dimension of research on the transition to adulthood in the Middle East and North Africa that has broad implications for young people’s outcomes, as well as attitudinal change in the region over time. Using a life course framework, we examine the reciprocal relationship between attitudes formation and two key transitions in young people’s lives: the transition to marriage and parenthood, and young women’s transition to labor force participation. In order to address the simultaneity of attitudes formation and transitions, we exploit the panel dimension of the Survey of Young People in Egypt 2009 and 2014, estimating the impact of attitudes in 2009 on the likelihood of making transitions between 2009 and 2014, then the impact of those transitions on attitudes in 2014. We find that young women with more egalitarian attitudes are more likely to enter the labor market but, contrary to most international literature, entering the labor market does not have a corresponding liberalizing effect on women’s attitudes. Rather, entering the labor force leads to more conservative attitudes regarding the gender dynamics of household decision-making. This may reflect the challenges women face in balancing work and family, and suggests that women may compensate for working outside the home – which may be perceived as having a negative effect on their families – by developing more conservative attitudes regarding household dynamics. As in other contexts, the transition to marriage and parenthood is associated with increasing conservatism in young people’s attitudes.

Suggested Citation

  • May Gadallah & Rania Roushdy & Maia Sieverding, 2017. "Young People’s Gender Role Attitudes Over the Transition to Adulthood in Egypt," Working Papers 1122, Economic Research Forum, revised 07 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:erg:wpaper:1122

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ragui Assaad & Christine Binzel & May Gadallah, 2010. "Transitions To Employment And Marriage Among Young Men In Egypt," Middle East Development Journal (MEDJ), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 2(01), pages 39-88.
    2. Lídia Farré & Francis Vella, 2013. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Gender Role Attitudes and its Implications for Female Labour Force Participation," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 80(318), pages 219-247, April.
    3. Rana Hendy, 2015. "Women's Participation in the Egyptian Labor Market: 1998-2012," Working Papers 907, Economic Research Forum, revised May 2015.
    4. Nicole M Fortin, 2005. "Gender Role Attitudes and the Labour-market Outcomes of Women across OECD Countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 416-438, Autumn.
    5. Ann Berrington & Yongjian Hu & Peter W. F. Smith & Patrick Sturgis, 2008. "A graphical chain model for reciprocal relationships between women's gender role attitudes and labour force participation," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 171(1), pages 89-108, January.
    6. Vella, Francis, 1994. "Gender Roles and Human Capital Investment: The Relationship between Traditional Attitudes and Female Labour Market Performance," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 61(242), pages 191-211, May.
    7. Rania Salem, 2015. "Changes in the Institution of Marriage in Egypt from 1998 to 2012," Working Papers 911, Economic Research Forum, revised May 2015.
    8. Assaad, Ragui & Arntz, Melanie, 2005. "Constrained Geographical Mobility and Gendered Labor Market Outcomes Under Structural Adjustment: Evidence from Egypt," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 431-454, March.
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