Marwa Helmy


Migration is not a novel occurrence; it has always been a driving force along with civilization. The main catalyst behind the new era of migration is globalization. Migration is a gendered topic, and in previous academic discourse from which women have often been excluded from it. However, the effect of male migration on female spouses in the home country is an area where research has been scarce. It was not until the last decade that attention was shed on female migrants; and the important role they play in international migration. Therefore this study seeks to explore the effect of male migration on female empowerment in Egypt. This is achieved by investigating two aspects; first, whether the control over remittances increases women’s autonomy, and decision-making thus resulting in empowerment. Secondly, the study also focuses on whether male migration results in a change in traditional gender roles. In order to overcome previous shortcomings, this study compares two groups: women from low-income families and women from middle income families. The main methodology used in this study was qualitative, and that was achieved through interviews. This study uses Naila Al Kabeer’s definition of empowerment as a focal point of analysis. According to Al Kabeer, the ability to make choices is made up of three interconnected areas: resources that are defined as not only access, but also future claims to material and human social resources; agency, which is decision-making or the process of defining goals and acting upon them. Resources and agency together make up what Amartya Sen calls capabilities. Capabilities are the possible abilities or potential that individuals have for living the lives the way they actually want. Lastly, achievements, which are the outcomes, reached. The researcher focused on formulating questions for the women that address these three aspects.


Political Science Department

Degree Name

MA in Political Science

Graduation Date


Submission Date

February 2016

First Advisor

Elnur, Ibrahim

Committee Member 1

Sikka, Nadine

Committee Member 2

Sunday, James


82 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

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