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The Gender Dimensions of Poverty in Egypt

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H. El-Laithy
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Does poverty in Egypt have a woman's face? Is female poverty linked to their conditions in the labour market or levels of education? Are women particularly at risk in poor households? This report addresses the gender dimensions of poverty using the recent Household Expenditure, Income and Consumption Survey of 1999/2000 for Egypt. Poverty measures of males and females were found to be significantly different, in both urban and rural areas, where higher levels are observed among females than males. Poverty is more prevalent in Upper Egypt, where poverty measures are twice as large as the national level. The poor, both men and women, are often uneducated, unemployed, working in the private sector, and account for the highest percentage of child labour. The report finds that female-headed households account for between 16 and 22 per cent of total households, with many of these women dependent on income transfers, either from relatives and neighbours, or from mosques to assist with basic needs for themselves and their families. Other findings include the following: the probability of being poor increases for those working in agriculture or services; and poverty rises where illiteracy rates are higher.