While Egypt's uprising may not have given rural women a louder voice in the political arena, gradual change may be occurring at the grassroots.
In the ongoing political turmoil in Egypt, the question of what change the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak will bring about and to whom is still to be resolved.
For women, however, post-revolution Egypt seems to have been marked by marginalisation in the political arena. This is particularly true for rural women who are typically one of the groups furthest from power. But while rural women may not have yet been given much opportunity to voice their concerns at the highest levels of political power, slower and longer-term change may be in progress at the grassroots.
Rising education levels
Although the rural districts of Egypt are often characterised as being traditional and patriarchal, Egypt's rural women are moving forwards.
"The majority of men and women want what is best for their families", Lindsey Jones, global gender adviser for ACDI/VOCA, an organisation which has worked with Egyptian women since 1982, tells Think Africa Press. "Once they recognise that greater social, political and economic participation of women will lead to better results for their families and societies, they are generally supportive of that participation".
She goes on to explain that there are now "greater opportunities for younger generations of women, largely because they have greater access to education than their mothers' generation". These generational differences are often fairly dramatic. One male farmer in Qena, for example, noted that "when it comes to farming, my wife and I are on different islands. My daughter on the other hand - I can ask her for advice."
Greater education also sets paves the way for greater economic opportunities for women, and this is often recognised and encouraged by parents of girls. "Men and women consistently spoke about how they wanted their girls to be educated and use their education to find a respectable job", Jones explains.
Fortunately, the labour market for women appears to be growing such as through the development of post harvest centres in Upper Egypt, though research by ADCI/VOCA already suggests that "women in Egypt make up more than 40% of the agricultural labour force.