Egyptian Made: Women, Work, and the Promise of Liberation (Hardcover)

Egyptian Made: Women, Work, and the Promise of Liberation By Leslie T. Chang Cover Image
Ships to our store in 3-8 Days


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.

About the Author

Leslie T. Chang has written about women in the developing world for two decades. Her book Factory Girls was named a New York Times Notable Book and has been translated into ten languages. Chang is a recipient of the PEN USA Literary Award, the Asian American Literary Award, the Tiziano Terzani International Literary Prize, the Quality Paperback Book Club New Visions Award, and the Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship. From 2011 to 2016, Chang lived and worked in Cairo, Egypt. Prior to that, Chang worked in China as a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. She has also written for The New YorkerThe New York Review of Books, and National Geographic. She lives in southwestern Colorado.

Praise For…

“Leslie T. Chang shows us how cultural, economic, and political forces impact the women she writes about in both big and small ways, and serves as an incredibly important window into their daily lives.”—Monica Potts, New York Times bestselling author of The Forgotten Girls

“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 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
“The most insightful book I’ve read about Egyptian society. Leslie Chang has embedded herself into the lives of working-class Egyptian women through the garment factories that employ them, a technique she mastered in her earlier Factory Girls, about China. Through this peephole, she can see it all—the resentments and squabbles of the factory floor, the intimate betrayals inside homes that are essentially gilded prisons, where women can’t protest second wives without losing their children. It all reveals how Egypt works—or doesn’t. Egyptian Made is a portrait of a country where tradition stagnates the economy and wastes the potential of half the population.”—Barbara Demick, bestselling author of Eat the Buddha

“Immersive and sharply observed . . . Chang’s cogent analysis and lyric impressions . . . are threaded with insight into Egypt’s political and economic history. It’s an eye-opener.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Product Details
ISBN: 9780525509219
ISBN-10: 0525509216
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: March 12th, 2024
Pages: 368
Language: English