Measurement of Women's Agency in Rural Egypt

Kathryn M. Yount, Emory University
Kristin VanderEnde, Emory University
Yuk Fai Cheong, Emory University
Rania Salem, University of Toronto
Sarah Zureick-Brown, Emory University

Women’s agency, and especially its determinants and effects, has long been a focus of research in the social sciences; yet the measurement of women’s agency, particularly in Middle Eastern settings, has been under-emphasized, clouding interpretations of its use as an outcome or predictor. Using the second wave of panel data from 608 ever-married women, we employed factor analysis to explore the measurement of women’s agency in rural Minya, Egypt. We hypothesized that women’s agency is a multidimensional construct, with positive correlations among these domains. Our final, 21-item model consisted of three factors (decision making, freedom of movement, and equitable gender role attitudes) each corresponding to a well-theorized dimension of women’s agency. The three factors were positively correlated, lending further support to research presenting women’s agency as a multidimensional construct. Future research should validate this measurement model in rural and urban Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Migration and Urbanization; Population, Development and the Environment