Gender and Material Transfers Between Older Parents and Children in Ismailia, Egypt


  • Department of Sociology, University of Chicago, 1126 East 59th Street, Chicago, IL, 60637.

  • Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 615 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore, MD, 21205.

  • This article was edited by Jay Teachman.

Hubert Department of Global Health and Department of Sociology, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30322 (


In Egypt, kin relations have been governed by a patriarchal contract, which defines expectations for intergenerational support along gendered lines. Social changes may be disrupting these customs and bringing attention to the ways gender may influence intergenerational support in rapidly changing contexts. Using data from 4,465 parent–child dyads in Ismailia, Egypt, we examined whether intergenerational material transfers favored women over men and whether gaps in needs and endowments accounted for gender differences in transfers. Fathers gave children money and goods more often than did mothers; mothers received material transfers from children more often than did fathers. Compared to sons, daughters made transfers to parents less often and received transfers from parents more often. We found residual advantages to mothers and daughters, even adjusting for differential needs and endowments. Findings corroborate persistent norms of gender complementarity, patrilocal endogamy, and reciprocation for women's caregiving, despite changes that have threatened patriarchal rules of exchange.