Over the last decade, Egypt’s aquaculture sector has expanded rapidly, which has contributed substantially to per capita fish supply, and the growth of domestic fish markets and employment across the aquaculture value chain. Despite the growing importance of aquaculture sector in Egyptian labour force, only a few studies have explored the livelihoods of Egypt’s women and men fish retailers. Even fewer studies have examined gender-based market constraints experienced by these informal fish retailers.
This study uses sex-disaggregated data collected in 2013 in three governorates of Lower Egypt to examine the economic and social constraints to scale of enterprises between women (n = 162) and men informal fish retailers (n = 183). Specifically, we employ linear regression method to determine the correlates of enterprise performance.
We found that both women and men retailers in the informal fish market earn low profits and face livelihood insecurities. However, women’s enterprise performance is significantly lower than that of men even after controlling for individual socio-economic and retailing characteristics. Specifically, the burden of unpaid household work and lack of support therein impedes women’s ability to generate higher revenues.
These findings strengthen the argument for investing in understanding how gender norms and attitudes affect livelihood options and outcomes. This leads to recommendations on gender-responsive interventions that engage with both men and women and enhance the bargaining power and collective voice of fish retailers.