By Ally Dever

Principal investigator
Sarah Fahmy

Office of Outreach & Engagement; University of Colorado Boulder Libraries Open Access Fund

Collaboration + support
Pui-Fong Kan and Jen Walentas Lewon of the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences; Arab Academy of Science Technology and Maritime Transport

Theater-based “vocal empowerment” programs can increase self-authorship and civic engagement among young Egyptian women, according to a CU Boulder-led study.

Sarah Fahmy, a PhD candidate in theater and performance studies, researches the effectiveness of vocal empowerment programs using theatrical exercises focused on encouraging women to use their voices to express solutions to community concerns.

To understand how socio-economic backgrounds influence the outcomes of such programs, she worked with young women in the Egyptian cities of Alexandria and Aswan.

All 55 participants reported a stronger belief in self-authorship and an increased desire to voice their opinions in public. However, the study revealed that socio-economic differences influenced participants’ expression and guided their experience, highlighting the need for practitioners to consider these cultural, language and educational differences in their research.

Photo by Olivia Attia