Young people’s gender role attitudes over the transition to adulthood in Egypt

Young people’s gender role attitudes over the transition to adulthood in Egypt

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, the authors 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 labour force participation. In order to address the simultaneity of attitudes formation and transitions, the research exploits 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.
 
The authors find that young women with more egalitarian attitudes are more likely to enter the labour market but, contrary to most international literature, entering the labour market does not have a corresponding liberalising effect on women’s attitudes. Rather, entering the labour 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.
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