Egyptian women artisans: ICTs are not the entry to modern markets
Handicrafts are an income generating activity for many women in Egypt, though as producers these women are often receiving the lowest return in the trading chain. This research analyses the potential for Egyptian craftswomen to use information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve their earnings. The research shows that while ICTs could be a useful tool for marketing and selling their products, there are various structural challenges to trading via micro- ICT outlets like websites to the international market. Though online sales of crafts are possible, the use of ICTs as a marketing outlet by the average craftswoman is not viable in today’s Egypt. The findings show that in the case of handicraft trade the generic “export is best” attitude is not the solution. In fact, the global craft market is too competitive for the typical Egyptian craftswoman as they are generally not equipped to handle the global handicrafts business environment. If the purpose is to empower artisan women then it would be better to enhance the demands for Egyptian handicrafts among the average Egyptian and thus create a domestic market for these products.
Keywords: E-commerce, Egypt, artisans, ICTs