What It Costs to Be Me: Women's Average Salaries
By Lea Goldman
Photo Credit: Jason Larkin/Panos Pictures
AMIRA MOHSEN, 24, CAIRO, EGYPT
Occupation: Broadcast journalist and publicist
Annual income: $14,700 (converted from Egyptian pounds)
Average income for a woman in Egypt: $2286
Home sweet home: "I pay $160 a month for a three-bedroom apartment I share with two roommates. It's very unusual for a woman to live on her own here usually you live with your parents until you're married. But mine moved to the U.K. My landlord was very suspicious. He worried we'd be entertaining "gentleman callers."
Bills, bills, bills: "My single biggest monthly expense is my cell phone, which I use relentlessly for work. It costs me $80 a month, about 10 times what the typical person in Cairo pays."
Only in Egypt: "We have a free health-care system, but it's pretty bad. If you want to see a good doctor, you pay privately, which can cost as much as $20 a visit. That's a big hit to the average Egyptian's monthly income. So most people just don't go to doctors."
Meal plan: "As a journalist, I often get invited to press conferences where food is typically provided. Or I'll just grab some pizza in our cafeteria. Lunch rarely costs me more than $2. And when I can, I'll make dinner at home."
The weekender: "On my nights off, I'll go to a café with my friends, get a drink, and smoke a shisha [hookah]. Depending on the neighborhood we're in, I can spend as little as $1. If I'm with a guy, I never pay for anything. It's very bad form in Egypt for a man to let a woman pay, even if he's nothing more than a friend."
Jeans Index: "My priciest pair of jeans cost just $55 but I don't wear them too often because of my profession."
Recessionomics: "Our economy was in such bad shape to begin with and was never really tied to the fate of the U.S. I can't say it's affected me at all."
Checks and balances: "I never know how much I'll earn each month. Since I freelance for Egypt's national TV station, I get paid by the state, which is notoriously unreliable. Plus, the media business here is seasonal. The month of Ramadan, for instance, is a killer no work at all. I live frugally, since I don't know what tomorrow will bring."