This is an ethnographic research project on Egyptian female tourist guides. Based on over forty semi-structured interviews, the study attempted to gain an insight into Egyptian female tourist guide's everyday life, especially focusing on her gender relations from two different angles; discourses and practices. Tourist guiding in Egypt is a relatively new occupation, as it was created to serve the demands of a growing international tourism industry. In one respect, it is an occupation to buff er two different cultures. The occupation offers a gender neutral criteria and gender neutral responsibility, and many women as well as men are working in the field. However, some Egyptians hold negative images of f emale tourist guides. While tourist guiding is known to be a high salary occupation, female tourist guides are sometimes considered as immoral career women whose interest is only in her career and in maintaining 'foreigner like' lifestyles in which she neglects her family and enjoys a loose sexual relationship. Despite such images shared by some people in society, all female tourist guides I interviewed (all Muslim and the majority of them with lower-middle class back grounds) were trying hard to maintain a balance between their family and work. Those who were married considered themselves as good wives and mothers as well as career women with a high profession. In fact, all of the informants (both married and single) put their first priority on their family, saying that being a wife and mother is their most important role in life. It seems that in contrast to some negative images of female tourist guides, many of them actually pay a significant respect to be a good wife and mother, and feel a strong confidence by fulfilling the roles.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Date of Award


Online Submission Date


First Advisor

Soraya Altorki

Committee Member 1

Soraya Altorki

Committee Member 2

Kevin Dwyer

Committee Member 3

Maha Abdelrahman

Document Type



106 leaves

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Tour guides (Persons)


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Call Number

Thesis 2004/33