Volume 33 - Article 31 | Pages 909–938

Inter-generational co-residence and women's work and leisure time in Egypt

By Nadia Diamond-Smith, David Bishai, Omaima El Gibaly

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Date received:12 Jul 2014
Date published:28 Oct 2015
Word count:7282
Keywords:coresidence, Egypt, female labor force participation, Middle East, North Africa, quality of life, time use


Background: Labor force participation among women in Egypt remains low, and due to falling fertility and increases life expectancy, women in Egypt in the future may spend more time co-residing with aging in-laws. Past literature has suggested that co-residence in some settings allows women to enter the labor force more, as mother-in-laws help care for their grandchildren, or inhibits labor force participation when mother-in-laws reinforce traditional values. There is little research on co-residence and labor supply, or leisure time, in Egypt.

Objective: This paper examines the role of intergenerational co-residence in women's work, work time, and leisure time using data on time allocation in Egypt.

Methods: Data were collected from 548 women with a living mother-in-law: 291 co-residing their mother-in-law and 257 not. Survey data included work status, a 24-hour time diary, and a health assessment of the mother-in-law. Multivariate regression models predicted work, work time, and leisure time use using standard models.

Results: Co-residing with a disabled mother-in-law was associated with decreased odds of women working and fewer minutes spent working a day. Leisure time was not associated with the co-residence and disability status of a mother-in-law. Factors related to couples’ relationships and the woman’s views on gender norms were also associated with women working.

Conclusions: Co-residence appears to be associated with women’s work, depending on the disability status of the co-residing mother-in-law. If increased life expectancy is associated with more time spent in a disabled state for mothers-in-law, this could put downward pressure on women’s work in this setting.

Author's Affiliation

Nadia Diamond-Smith - University of California, San Francisco, United States of America [Email]
David Bishai - Johns Hopkins University, United States of America [Email]
Omaima El Gibaly - Assiut University, Egypt [Email]

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