Expert Commentary

Women empowerment in Egypt and investment in children

2008 study in the Middle East Development Journal on the effect of Egyptian mothers’ education and financial position on their children’s education.

Women played a significant role in the 2011 protests in Egypt. More educated and outspoken than women of earlier generations, they will continue to have an impact on Egyptian society, evidence suggests, in a post-revolution landscape.

A 2008 study published by the Cairo-based Economic Research Forum’s Middle East Development Journal, “Intrahousehold Resource Allocation in Egypt: Women Empowerment and Investment in Children,” examines the relationship between Egyptian women’s education level and contributions to marriage costs and the level of schooling that their children ultimately attain. The research was based on data from the 2006 Egypt Labor Market Panel Survey on household members’ educational and income status.

The key findings of the study include:

  • When an Egyptian mother’s contribution to marriage costs is higher than the national average (currently 25% of all costs), this has a positive impact on the number of years of a child’s schooling. A negative association (fewer school years) is associated with fathers who have paid more than the average.
  • There is a significant positive impact on boys’ schooling years when both parents have completed more schooling themselves. For girls, their level of schooling is more highly associated with the level of their father’s education than the mother’s.
  • There is a significant negative impact on girls’ education associated with living in rural areas. No such negative impact exists for boys’ education.

While there are clear associations between women’s increased investment in their marriage and their children’s schooling, the authors suggest that more detailed information is needed to better understand the nature of women’s contributions to decision-making in Egyptian households.

Tags: poverty

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