Male out migration especially to Gulf countries is a well-established phenomenon in Upper Egypt. It is considered the easy way out of poverty and unemployment. Moreover, remittances represent the only monetary source for most migratory families. This thesis explores the impact of male out migration on their community of origin with a special focus on its impact on women. Fieldwork has been conducted in the village of Hekma, Qena, Upper Egypt where everything is influenced by the absence of men. A gendered approach is utilized to understand the everyday life of this community. This thesis consists of three main parts. The first part investigates how the social space is influenced by the absence of men. The second part explores remittances as a process and its role in the economic life with special attention to the role of women in this process. In addition, it discusses women’s empowerment from the understanding of Hekma women. The third part investigates the impact of remittances on consumption at the household level, as well as the difference between remittance receiving and non-receiving households. This thesis contributes to the gender and migration discourse as it offers a new understanding of social space, remittances and consumption in an Upper Egyptian context.


Cynthia Nelson Institute for Gender and Women's Studies

Degree Name

MA in Gender & Women's Studies

Graduation Date


Submission Date

September 2013

First Advisor

Rieker, Martina

Committee Member 1

Saad, Reem

Committee Member 2

Zohry, Ayman


102 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Egypt -- Social life and customs.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Egypt -- Social conditions.


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item


My whole gratitude goes to Allah for completing this research. I would like to thank my grant sponsors, The Open Society Foundation and The American University in Cairo for their generous fincial support without which it would not have been possible to accomplish my MA degree. Foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my advisor Dr. Marti Rieker for her continuous support of my MA study and research, for her patience, motivation, enthusiasm, and immense knowledge. Her guidance helped me in all the time of research and writing of this thesis. I could not have imagined having a better advisor and mentor for my MA study. Besides my advisor, I would like to thank my two readers: Dr. Reem Saad and Dr. Ayman Zohry, for their encouragement, insightful comments, and hard questions. To my family, particularly my parents thank you for your love, support, and unwavering belief in me. Without you, I would not be the person I am today. Above all I would like to thank my husband Haitham for his love and constant support, for all the late nights and early mornings, and for keeping me sane over the past few months. Thank you for being my best friend. I owe you everything.