When There Is “No Respect” at Work: Job Quality Issues for Women in Egypt’s Private Sector

Ghada Barsoum, Population Council

Egypt has one of the lowest female labor participation rates in the world. Based on ethnographic research, this paper argues that women in Egypt, particularly young women, face job quality issues that discourage them from continuing to work or even entering the labor market. The paper highlights women’s, particularly young women’s, valorization of jobs in the public sector and the government, even if untenable. We discuss the advantages presented by the public sector in Egypt, why those jobs are valorized by women, and the strategies young women adopt in clinging to the hope of getting a public sector/government job. We also examine the reasons young women present for their limited labor market participation. The paper argues that these reasons are primarily related to job quality issues and the lack of decent work in the predominantly informal private sector in Egypt.

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Presented in Poster Session 1