cairo 2


Access to clean drinking water and sanitation is explicitly recognized as essential for human rights (UN Resolution 64/292) and for a decade up to 2015 was a focus of action by the UN. Whilst considerable progress has been made in ensuring wider access to clean water, there remain important differentiated gendered relationships to water access, use and governance, mediated by gendered labour practices and socio-cultural norms. These intersections between gender and water in turn have important impacts on economic activity, especially female labour markets participation and attempts to economic inequalities and poverty.

Existing research being conducted in Egypt has shown that women in the urban slums of Cairo are challenged between meeting their obligation to cater for water provision for their families in an environment where there is often scarcity of clean potable water and their desires to be more entrepreneurial. As a consequence despite attempts to empower women, address poverty and improve economic wellbeing through home-based entrepreneurial activity, major challenges remain in overcoming basic domestic duties in relation to water provision. This research is helping to evaluate the entrepreneurial practices developed to empower marginalized home–based women entrepreneurs operating in the distressed areas of Egypt and is providing greater insights into how support can be provided by government and development agencies to assist female entrepreneurialism more generally in urban slums.

This project seeks to address this directly as a means to

(i) open up wider debate about barriers to female entrepreneurial activity in re-enterprising the city,

(ii) assist in meeting key SDGs – 5 (Gender equality and empowering of women and girls), 10 (reduce inequality within and among countries), and 11 (make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable), and

(iii) address the need for new methodologies and approaches to be developed to research female entrepreneurship in developing nations.

This project is a partnership between the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, the Institute for Future Cities and the Department of Architecture at the University of Strathclyde and the University of Cairo.