Friday, April 03, 2015

Blog 7: Egyptian woman reveals secret of pretending to be a man

A woman named Sisa Abu Daooh who lives in Egypt dressed as a man for 42 years. She was neither gay nor transgender; she simply just dressed as a man to fit into society. Several weeks ago she publicly revealed her secret. Surprisingly, the reactions were mostly positive. Egypt’s president personally gave her an award for being an extraordinary mother. Daooh was penniless after her husband died. This is when she decided to seek work as a man. In an interview, Daooh, who is now 64, said she began dressing as a man to escape restrictions on women’s employment and earn enough to support her daughter, Hoda. She made less than a dollar a day. Now, she prefers to dress as a man because of the way of life and being in a world dominated by men. She faced verbal and physical abuse from those who discovered her secret. The police had accelerated arrests of those accused of not conforming to the social norms. Inequality between men and women is everywhere but Egypt is among the worst in the world. Only 26 percent of women in Egypt participate in the labor force. Her daughter is very proud of her mother and says, “She’s not just my mother…she’s my father and everything in my life.”


This woman took a huge risk, especially, being in a society where women are barely accepted. It is great that she was mostly praised for her actions instead of punished. Hopefully, other women in Egypt and even across the world will be influenced by this women’s actions. Although the woman did not speak out and kept it as a secret, she did what she could to survive in society. 

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