In male-dominated Egypt, the workforce participation rate among women and girls ages 15 and older is an estimated 15%, falling below the Middle East-North Africa region’s average of 19%, according to the International Labor Organization. For VOA, photojournalist Hamada Elrasam traces a thread that binds the everyday struggles of mothers and young female professionals across Cairo: dreams of agency amid far-reaching, often gender-based barriers to participation. Words by Elle Kurancid.

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