Gender Discrimination in Labor Market

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Discrimination is defined as an act of making a distinction against a person based on group, class, or category that this person belongs to (The definition of discrimination, n.d.),

This distinction simply could be based on race, religion, culture, and gender. So the existence of discrimination is possible as long as there is diversity in society and that’s also why discrimination could appear in any society and indifferent form.  

 Unfortunately, discrimination found its way to Egypt, it has been argued that there is gender discrimination in the labor market and being such an important issue, further statistics and studies has been conducted to investigate this problem.

Discrimination is defined as an act of making a distinction against a person based on group, class, or category that this person belongs to (The definition of discrimination, n.d.),

This distinction simply could be based on race, religion, culture, and gender. So the existence of discrimination is possible as long as there is diversity in the society and that’s also why discrimination could appear in any society and indifferent form.  

 Unfortunately, discrimination found its way to Egypt, it has been argued that there is a gender discrimination in the labor Market and being such an important issue, further statistics and studies has been conducted to investigate this problem .

According to the annual report statistics published by Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics on February 2016, it shows interesting results of a survey performed earlier on 2014 (CAPMAS ,2016); women’s employment rate was around 24% , compared with 76% for men (see Fig.1) and on the other side, women’s unemployment rate was higher with 24% compared to 9% for men (Fig.2).

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Surveys, 2010) showed Egypt as one of the lowest rates of Full-Time female workers in the world with a percentage of 16.4% as shown in Fig.3. Another statistic by the International Labor Organization (ILO, 2016) shows the female employment ratio in a world scale, showing Egypt with the lowest category in women labor power Fig.4.

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Several researchers raised the awareness of this issue, according to a study conducted by Social Research Centre at the American University in Egypt (SRC, 2009), it was noted that this issue is a significant obstacle for our economic growth.

A working paper was proposed by Amirah El Hadad, stating that this gender discrimination cuts down our economical growth opportunities (El-Haddad, A. ,2009) , also her study showed that woman gain lower salary than men because of gender discrimination which could result in discouraging woman to participate in labor market.

It is vital to understand the causes of this gender discrimination to come up with the right solution , according to Social Research Centre (SRC,2009), there are three main factors behind this issue;

(a) Traditional Believes: The traditional role of both gender is still dominant in the Egyptian society as it is believed that it is more important for a man to seek a job than a woman , a problem that influence negatively the willpower of most of women to find a job since it is not important in the eyes of the society, (b) Wages Inequalities: the inequality in wages distribution between both genders is an important effect that put an obstacle for women especially that women sometimes need to send her kids to nursery during the working hours. Despite that fact that Wages Inequalities could be a result of Traditional believes, it should be considered as an independent cause since it is a main cause that can lead women to give up her role in the market since it is not worth the effort, (c) High rate of illiteracy: according to CAPMAS , women illiteracy is 37%  while it is 22% for men. On the other hand, around 52% of women hold a school degree while it is 63% of men (CAPMAS ,2016)., (d) Sexual Harassment: According to a survey conducted by United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, it was stated that about 99.3% of Egyptian women experienced some form of sexual harassment (Daily News, 2013). This problem forcing many women to stay home to avoid unnecessary sexual harassment on the way to work or in the work environment which can affect her marriage or her reputation due to our society’s believes.

The gender discrimination in Egypt has different sources and therefore many solutions and approaches are proposed to contribute in eliminating this issue. These solutions should cover many aspects of this issue. (a) Traditional believes: It is really important to spread the awareness of equal rights between both genders. This process would take a longer time to change the society believes especially in rural areas and thus, it is recommended to have a dedicated national program to focus on that issue. Such a program should use different means through Educational advertisements and public awareness campaign., (b) Education: It is clearly obvious that focusing in raising the education levels for woman would participate effectively in increasing woman empowerment since it provides knowledge, skills, and confidence that woman needs to effectively contribute and compete in labor market. This can be done by providing special training courses and dedicated Scholarships/Fellowships programs., (c) Wages Inequalities: This problem requires a review on payroll legalization from our government. This issue should be discussed with civil society and labor organizations.,(d) Sexual harassment: It has been noticed that Sexual Harassment in Egypt become a serious issue, a reason for many families to prevent their woman members to go outside alone without a man. This problem would be resolved by making more crucial punishment and encouraging women to speak out without fear from society since society blames the female for sexual harassment. Another act would be by providing safe transportation for women. Buses and Microbuses are the main transportation means for low-income families and since these means are overcrowded, sexual harassment is possible, therefore, making a bus line only for women will encourage women to be more involved in the market. Another suggestion would be providing a special taxi with female drivers at lower rates which not only would encourage women to go to work without altering the family budget but also would create a new job opportunity for women as drivers. This solution has been already adopted by private companies like Pink Taxi (Fig.5), however, this idea should receive more attention to provide a cheap alternative for low-income families.

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In Conclusion, several studies have been conducted and proved that there is gender discrimination in Egypt in the labor market which is a serious threat to our economy and our national development. The problem is caused by many factors such as Traditional believes, Wages Inequalities, High Illiteracy rate among females, and Sexual Harassment. Since the problem has many aspects to solve, many approaches are proposed to solve each aspect separately. For traditional beliefs, it was suggested that making a dedicated educational advertisement would be an effective way to change those believes as it is a long time process. Consultation with civil society and labor organizations is required to reach fair legalization regarding wage inequality.  Education should be encouraged by offering scholarships and training courses for women. Sexual Harassment must be subjected to more severe punishment since it reflects a bad image to our country besides being an obstacle for women to work.

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