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Essays on Female Empowerment and Women's Status

Al-Khaja, AJA; (2016) Essays on Female Empowerment and Women's Status. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis explores different dimensions of female empowerment in Egypt. In Chapter 2, “Could having more children encourage mothers to work? Evidence from Egypt”, the relationship between fertility and female empowerment is explored. A smaller family size reduces the conflict between childrearing and labour force participation, potentially encouraging female employment. On the other hand, due to the lower costs of childrearing, a smaller family size reduces the financial motive for labour force participation. The overall effect of family size on female employment is examined in the context of the Arab region; a region characterised with falling fertility and yet stagnating and low female employment. Evidence is found for a significant positive relationship between family size and employment, particularly amongst couples with lower education and lower income. In Chapter 3, “Decision-making in Egyptian Households”, a measure is constructed for female bargaining power, based on the proportion of decisions in the household in which women report having a say. The determinants of the measure are explored at an individual level, and the effect of a change in legislation which is predicted to increase women’s bargaining power is explored. The association between a woman’s bargaining power and school enrolment of her children is estimated, with suggestive evidence that girls’, but not boys’, education is influenced by their mother’s bargaining power. In Chapter 4 “Dower and Divorce in Egypt”, the Islamic institution of “mahar” is studied. The trends and levels of prompt and deferred marital transfers are examined, with evidence of a decline in the former and rise of the latter. A framework is presented to understand how “mahar” can affect marital stability, although evidence suggests that it may provide a more social function than an economic one.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Essays on Female Empowerment and Women's Status
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1474967
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