Empowerment is a Community Affair: Community Level Determinants of Married Women’s Empowerment in Egypt

Ragui Assaad, Hanan Nazier, Racha Ramadan

Research output: Working paper


This paper examines the contextual and community-level determinants of multidimensional womens empowerment in Egypt, while accounting for the usual individual and household level factors typically included in studies of womens empowerment. The paper analyzes two dimensions of womens empowerment: the decision-making and the mobility dimensions by means of two indices constructed from various survey questions relating to these dimensions. We use data from the Population Census of 2006 and the Demographic Health Survey of 2008 to construct community and governorate-level contextual variables to complement the individual-level data we obtain from the Egypt Labor Market Panel Survey of 2012 (ELMPS 2012). In line with the literature, the determinants that are relevant to the decision-making and mobility dimensions of womens empowerment turned out to be quite different, confirming that empowerment is a multi- dimensional phenomenon, with women relatively empowered in some aspects of their lives but not in others. Moreover, our results show that context plays an important role in determining womens empowerment in Egypt after controlling for a variety of individual and household-level characteristics. These results highlight the importance of viewing womens empowerment, and hence development as social and normative transformations rather than as just resulting from shifts in individual conditions, attitudes and behaviors. Thus, empowering Egyptian women will require changing community norms and values about gender relations rather than simply providing greater educational and employment opportunities for women
Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages29
StatePublished - Oct 25 2017

Publication series

NameEconomic Research Forum, WP
No.959, 2015


  • Women’s Empowerment
  • Agency Empowerment
  • Decision-Making
  • Mobility
  • Community-Level Determinants
  • Social Context
  • Egypt


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