Gender-role attitudes among Egyptian adolescents

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Using nationally representative survey data, this study explores gender-role attitudes among unmarried adolescents aged 16-19 in Egypt, a society characterized by distinct and often segregated roles for men and women. Adolescents' views about desirable qualities in a spouse as well as more direct indicators of gender-role attitudes are examined, including opinions about whether wives should defer to their husbands, share in household decisionmaking, and have the responsibility for performing domestic tasks. The findings regarding spousal characteristics reflect strong gender differentiation. Girls and boys provide divergent profiles of an ideal spouse, profiles that reflect traditional gender roles. Girls are significantly less likely than boys to favor educational inequality between spouses, however. Neither boys nor girls have egalitarian gender-role attitudes, although girls are significantly more likely to express less traditional attitudes. Multivariate analyses indicate that girls' and boys' attitudes do not vary consistently and significantly by socioeconomic background; in particular, increased schooling does not always promote egalitarian attitudes. The implications of these findings are discussed.