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Published by the Daily News Egypt on November 27, 2013. The weak, the strong and the boys: Female street children in Egypt.

My article on the ways female street children develop to live in the gendered space of the street, and how these methods effectively gender the street, was published today by the Daily News Egypt. Please read an excerpt below.

Girls are either pitied for not being able to conform to the gender norms, or despised for the exact same reason. The girls’ own participation in the creation of their roles is not acknowledged. Instead, girls are viewed as passive victims of the circumstances, or of the dominating understanding of gender norms. My research with female street children in Cairo has shown a quite different image. Girls are not just helplessly exposed to some stiff gender norms, but they cope with them, challenge them and shape them themselves. In order to try to understand the living circumstances of girls in the street, one has to ask what girls actually do with the gender norms. How do they perceive them? How do they challenge them? How does a girl in the street perform being a girl in the street? With the aid of the girls themselves, I identified three modes in which girls in the street live and operate: The weak girl, the strong girl and the boy.

Read the full article here.

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Published by the Daily News Egypt on November 17, 2013. Street children: Gender matters.

My article on female street children in Egypt and their gender-specific experiences was published by the Daily News Egypt on November 17, 2013. Below you can see an excerpt of the article.

Interestingly, we mostly discuss street children as if they are a homogeneous group, as if they have no age or gender, although it is evident that the experiences of a 5-year old boy in the street strongly differ from those of a teenage girl. Street children are not ageless, and they are not genderless. They have different backgrounds and experiences, different problems and certainly, different needs. Our discussions about street children become much more interesting when they become more specific: when we talk about working children, street leaders, drug dealers and addicts, or about street girls. When these discussions become more differentiated, more meaningful questions are asked: what does a street girl experience because she is in the street and what does she experience because she is a girl? How does she deal with these gender-specific differences? How does she shape them herself?

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Published by the Daily News Egypt on April 14, 2013. Street children: What they are not

The original article was published on April 14, 2013, by Daily News Egypt. You can find an excerpt of the article below.

It is easy for us to categorise and label street children. To us, they are ruthless criminals, beggars, the puppets of unknown forces, drug addicts or miserable victims. They all come from the same background, probably a slum. They were either kicked out of their homes or they chose the street as a space of unlimited fun and freedom. But all our categories, all our labels, are highly deficient.

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