Archive Resource
Add To Reading List
Year: 2009 Type: Book Chapter Language: English

Great strides have been made towards the realization of gender equity over the past fifteen years in Egypt. Since the last ICPD in 1994, a National Council for Women has been established, a number of prejudicial laws have been changed and over four million women have entered the labour force. This chapter not only documents the achievements but also gauges the distance left towards the realization of gender equity and justice. The case of Egypt illustrates the importance and limitations of formal and structural change. The re-arrangements and reforms of the past fifteen years have delivered some positive benefits and closed a few gender gaps. Missing is the public support and popular uptake of some of the ideals and principles of gender justice and women’s rights proposed by the reproductive health model. This chapter offers a stylized account of what has worked and the way left to go. Rather than adopt the main framework of the report and differentiate between governorates in Egypt, this chapter distinguishes between formal and popular change. The ideological transformations that are implied by gender justice are not perceptible at a governorate level. There are remarkable differences between urban and rural Egypt and between the rich and the poor when it comes to indicators of gender equality and women’s empowerment. These will be noted accordingly and explained in terms of their significance to understanding the geographical/governorate specificities and locations. However, the story in this chapter is not amenable to governorate level interpretations. Another feature of this chapter is the lack of graphs and tables. Although statistical sources have been employed, the numerical evidence used is couched in a narrative that interprets the evidence in terms of its social implications.