PhD Progress

In an effort to be more accountable for the progress of my PhD, I have outlined below the milestones achieved thus far as well as the upcoming aims for the coming years. The current structure of my research is centered around 3 key phases; understanding the existing macro social context in Egypt, followed by a granular exploration of the effects of current linguistic recruitment practices on perception, and finally an integration of the findings from phases 1 and 2 to provide grounded evidence and recommendations for increasing women's participation in the labour force.

Phase I - The Social Context

The first phase consists of developing an in depth understanding of the macro social context surrounding Egyptian employment and the labour market. This entails a qualitative and quantitative exploration of existing recruitment practices, explicit attitudes towards women's involvement in the workplace, and finally attitudes towards the language used in recruitment.

Methodological plans:

  1. Conducting a large-scale digital web-scrape of all online recruitment websites in Egypt and highlighting the asymmetries and extent of gendered language used in job advertisements.

  2. Interviewing recruiters and women searching for employment to understand the social, linguistic, cultural, and economic barriers to women's entry into the labour market.

  3. Using a large-scale survey, I plan on collecting explicit attitudes towards gendered language in recruitment and attitudes towards women in the workplace.

Phase II - Perception & Language

The second phase of this research shifts the focus on to the effects of grammatically gendered language in Arabic on the reader's perception. Specifically, I use this phase to explore the implications of the existing recruitment practices on 2 population's of interest: female applicants and recruiters. From the applicant's perspective I am focused on whether language choice (using inclusive language or masculine generic language) affects women's desire to apply to different job advertisements. From the recruiters perspective, I explore whether the same linguistic choices affect recruiters judgements regarding the suitability of female/male applicants.

Methodological plans:

  1. Two matched-guise tasks with applicants and recruiters.

  2. Speech production experiment to test whether masculine grammatical gender primes male occupational expectations.

Phase III - Recommendations & Outreach

In the final phase of this study, I combine the findings from the aforementioned phases to integrate supply side and demand side barriers and facilitators to women's participation and representation in the Egyptian labour market. Additionally, based on adjacent literature and the findings from the phases above I will work with partnered business to design and implement sustainable interventions promoting gender-inclusive language in the workplace.