Woman dressed as a man for four decades to help her family
An Egyptian woman who spent more than four decades disguising herself as a man to provide for her family was recently awarded the country's highest award for motherhood.
Sisa Abu Daooh, 64, has been dressing like a man for 43 years. Her husband died in the early 1970s and she and her daughter quickly became destitute, so she took to disguising herself in clothing of the opposite sex for better employment opportunities.
According to the World Economic Forum, at the time of her husband's death, less than 30 percent of women held jobs - compared to almost 80 percent of men.
Ms. Daooh spent seven years working in construction and other manual labor, earning less than a dollar a day, The New York Times reported. She eventually found less physically demanding work.
Today, she works as a shoe shiner - and still dresses as a man.
She told The Guardian that many people realized she was a woman. Some even verbally or physically abused her for it, but others either ignored it or didn't notice at all.
"I was happy. I was able to work men's work, and all the people around me were happy with it. When men looked at me they looked at me as a man," she said. "I have decided to die in these clothes. I've got used to it. It's my whole life and I can't leave it now. When a woman lets go of her femininity, it's hard. But I would do anything for my daughter."Last week, she was awarded the "woman breadwinner" award by authorities in her hometown of Luxor and was congratulated in person by the Egyptian president.