Egyptian Made

Women, Work, and the Promise of Liberation

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Pub Date 12 Mar 2024 | Archive Date 31 May 2024

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Description

An incisive exploration of women and work, showing how globalization’s promise of liberation instead set the stage for repression—from the acclaimed author of Factory Girls

“Exhaustively reported and researched, Egyptian Made takes us halfway across the world and inside the intimate lives of women caught between tradition and independence.”—Monica Potts, New York Times bestselling author of The Forgotten Girls

What happens to the women who choose to work in a country struggling to reconcile a traditional culture with the demands of globalization? In this sharply drawn portrait of Egyptian society—deepened by two years of immersive reporting—Leslie T. Chang follows three women as they persevere in a country that throws up obstacles to their progress at every step, from dramatic swings in economic policy to conservative marriage expectations and a failing education system.

Working in Egypt’s centuries-old textile industry, Riham is a shrewd businesswoman who nevertheless struggles to attract workers to her garment factory and to compete in the global marketplace. Rania, who works on a factory assembly line, attempts to climb to a management rank but is held back by conflicts with co-workers and the humiliation of an unhappy marriage. Her colleague Doaa, meanwhile, pursues an education and independence but sacrifices access to her own children in order to get a divorce.

Alongside these stories, Chang shares her own experiences living and working in Egypt for five years, seeing through her own eyes the risks and prejudices that working women continue to face. She also weaves in the history of Egypt’s vaunted textile industry, its colonization and independence, a century of political upheaval, and the history of Islam in Egypt, all of which shaped the country as it is today and the choices available to Riham, Rania, and Doaa. Following each woman’s story from home and work, Chang powerfully observes the near-impossible balancing act that Egyptian women strike every day.
An incisive exploration of women and work, showing how globalization’s promise of liberation instead set the stage for repression—from the acclaimed author of Factory Girls

“Exhaustively reported and...

Advance Praise

“I read Egyptian Made like a novel, finishing in the early hours one morning. But the women Leslie Chang describes, and the villages and factories to which she’s devoted years of attention, are unlikely to appear in any novel. Chang takes us into an Egypt outsiders have never seen, introducing workplaces that run like dysfunctional families, where cherished colleagues can betray one another and a woman’s dream of independence can collapse overnight. Chang’s lucid prose, her exacting journalistic standards, and her preference for truth over narrative conventions make Egyptian Made essential reading for anyone who cares about women in the Arab world.”

—Nell Freudenberger, New York Times bestselling author of Lost and Wanted

“What do women want? What does freedom mean? How does capitalism translate through the prism of cultural expectations and pressures? Leslie T. Chang's meticulous reportage offers Anglophone readers an intimate window into the varied lives, triumphs, sorrows, and dreams of women in contemporary Egypt—and invites us to examine both the global reach of patriarchy, and the universal nature of human ambitions and dreams.”

—Anna Badkhen, author of Bright Unbearable Reality


“I read Egyptian Made like a novel, finishing in the early hours one morning. But the women Leslie Chang describes, and the villages and factories to which she’s devoted years of attention, are...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780525509219
PRICE $30.00 (USD)
PAGES 368

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