Women want careers

Egypt’s official unemployment rate rose to 13.2 % in 2016. The real situation is worse, however, since people who struggle to make ends meet in informal employment are not counted as unemployed. In the lack of sufficient incomes, many young people postpone marriage.
Young revolutionaries in 2011. Mohamed Omar/picture-alliance/dpa Young revolutionaries in 2011.

Fatima Abdallah, a young public-sector worker from Alexandria, says: “Getting a job isn’t easy, and the salaries are the minimum wage, so it is hard to start a family in the current situation.” According to her, many of her acquaintances worry about jobs and are postponing marriage. Mariam Abdelaziz from Cairo agrees: “In the light of the economic crisis, getting married is without doubt one of the toughest decisions these days.”

Many young women who have a job, however, are unwilling to give it up. They want to keep working and make money. Noor Mohamad is an example. She says she would stay employed at the private-sector company that has hired her even if she married a millionaire. “The traditional family, with women staying at home, does not fit the social and economic situation anymore,” she insists. In view of the current economic crisis, she appreciates her financial independence even more.

Ayshe Hassan is another young woman who puts her profession first: “I am an independent woman who loves work,” she says, but adds that career opportunities are becoming fewer in the tourism industry she works for.

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