Feature

Egyptian Woman Dresses As A Man For 43 Years To Support Her Family

Egyptian Woman Dresses As A Man For 43 Years To Support Her Family

Sisa Abu Daooh, a 64-year-old woman dressed as a man while polishing shoes in Luxor. Credit: Al-Arabiya

Sisa Abu Daooh was just 21 and pregnant with a girl when her husband passed away. After giving birth to her daughter, she found herself with no means to support herself and her new born Houda.

Coming from a less privileged community, Sisa, 64, faced a culture that considered it a taboo for women to work, particularly in areas requiring labor.

To get around this, and to ensure Houda was never hungry, Sisa decided to dress herself up as a man.

“So as to protect myself from men and the harshness of their looks and being targeted by them due to traditions, I decided to be a man … and dressed in their clothes and worked alongside them in other villages where no one knows me,” Sisa told Al-Arabiya.

On Tuesday, Sisa’s efforts were recognized when Egypt honored her as a model Egyptian woman. The Social Solidarity Directorate of Luxor awarded Sisa the “woman breadwinner” award to recognize her long years of work to provide for her family.

Credit: Al-Arabiya

During the 46 years in which Sisa wore a traditional loose robe with wide sleeves often worn by Egypt’s rural men, the mother (and later grand mother) worked in construction, agriculture, cleaning and more.

“I preferred working in hard labor like lifting bricks and cement bags and cleaning shoes to begging in the streets in order to earn a living for myself and for my daughter and her children,” she said to Al-Arabiya, adding that she is currently making a decent income by polishing shoes.

Her daughter Houda maintains pride in her mother’s efforts over the years,  thanking her for providing for the family.

“My mom is the one who still provides for the family,” said Houda.

“She wakes up every day at 6 a.m. to start polishing shoes at the station in Luxor. I carry the work kits for her as she now advanced in age.”

Despite the stigma, women in Egypt are the main breadwinners in up to 30 percent of households.

Massacre In Tunisia Museum Kills 22
All Travellers Now Need A Visa Before Entering Egypt

Subscribe to our newsletter


  • Pingback: Donna egiziana si è vestita per 46 anni da uomo per lavorare | Universo Mamma()

  • noura haddad

    I will be happy to be her customer when I am in Luxor in September

  • Pingback: Egyptian Woman Dressed As A Man For Four Decades To Earn A Living | The Daily Caller()

  • Pingback: Egyptian Woman Dresses As A Man For 43 Years To Support Her Family | Sociallei()

  • Zo

    How can we help this lady? Please use my contact to provide more info, we are willing to help!

    • Jane Akshar

      there are literally thousands of poor people in Egypt and the best way to help is to visit the country and spend money, we need tourists so badly

      • Figo

        Best way is to provide a sort of a small business, or something that would provide a consistent income to our fellow human beings and not just simply go and throw at them a few hundred pounds, its not that difficult actually just needs a bit of support and little work

        • Jane Akshar

          She has a small business, what she needs is customers

      • Nesrine Emarah

        super like to your comment

      • Omar Tayfour

        Actually you need the government or any responsible agency to visit the streets and take actions such as creating small projects and therefore creating job opportunities for them, since when tourism prevented poverty?

        • Omar Tayfour

          That’s not even small business btw,in homs / syria prior to revolution a single charity organization managed to eliminate the beggars epidemic on the long term by creating small businesses, and hiring the poor and unemployed to do it.
          Once someone take action and responsibility for it channeling the outcome of the business into sales is never an issue,seeing that tourism and their money is the answer is basically throwing the responsibility on citizens of other countries who couldn’t care less.
          No offense but that’s not just lazy,that’s selfish as well

Feature

More in Feature

01ea6fda4ec705de1f0d8307df4aad284af86e9fad1a6e2ae0a0f14630297bf5

Meet the Company Redefining Egypt’s Health Insurance Market

Enas El MasryDecember 4, 2016
13920532_1736726203248967_2577116043429050990_o

Making #HerStory Matter: Promoting Gender Equality on Arabic Wikipedia

Egyptian StreetsNovember 27, 2016
ahmed saied

‘We Made Chess Out of Soap’: Exclusive Interview with Released Political Prisoner Ahmed Saied

Aya NaderNovember 23, 2016
Students watch a movie being projected in the playground

The Oromo in Egypt: Why Have 11,000 Ethiopians Fled Their Homeland?

Nada NaderNovember 15, 2016
Trump at an early campaign event in New Hampshire on June 16, 2015. Photo by Michael Vadon

Egyptian Expats Weigh in on Trump Victory, Express Fear of Rhetoric

Aswat MasriyaNovember 12, 2016
An employee counts money at an exchange office in downtown Cairo
Credit: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/ Reuters

Timeline: The Egyptian Pound Over the Last Five Decades

Aswat MasriyaNovember 3, 2016
Photo courtesy of Blue Ocean PR

The Four Pillars of Happiness: Egyptian Lifestyle Consultant Discusses Wellness

Salma El SaeedNovember 2, 2016
pablo-breast-cancer

How You Can Help the 45,000 Egyptian Women Diagnosed With Breast Cancer Each Year

Egyptian StreetsOctober 31, 2016
Egyptian Streets is an independent, young, and grass roots news media organization aimed at providing readers with an alternate depiction of events that occur on Egyptian and Middle Eastern streets, and to establish an engaging social platform for readers to discover and discuss the various issues that impact the region.

© 2016 ES Media UG. All Rights Reserved.