Document Type

Working Paper

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Using nationally representative survey data, this paper explores gender role socialization and attitudes toward marriage among unmarried Egyptian adolescents aged 16-19 years. We examine the daily activities of adolescent boys and girls, views about age at marriage and desirable qualities in a spouse, and various indicators of gender role attitudes including opinions about whether wives should defer to husbands, about sharing household decisionmaking, and about responsibility for domestic tasks. Our findings reflect strong gender differentiation: girls have much less free time than boys, are much less mobile, are much less likely to participate in paid work, and have heavier domestic responsibilities regardless of whether or not they are in school. Girls favor a later age at marriage for both sexes, but particularly for boys. Boys are significantly more likely than girls to favor educational inequality between spouses. While neither boys nor girls have particularly progressive gender role attitudes, 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 for policies and programs are discussed.