Haggling with the fishermen in the seaside village of Bouharoun for the produce she serves in her restaurant, Algerian Karima Daikhi is a woman determined to make her way in a man’s world.
When her husband was killed by jihadists in 1995, Daikhi had no choice but to enter the growing pool of female wage-earners in a country where, outside the largest cities, women were once expected to stay at home.
“I had to struggle and impose myself. I had no choice. Six children to feed, educate, and take care of,” Karima Daikhi said as she sold fish soup and “bourek”, a local specialty of fish wrapped in crispy pastry, at her stall on the quayside.
Daikhi is not alone, in a country where 200,000 people were killed in a civil war in the 1990s, leaving countless war widows.
The proportion of women in work was 13.6% in 2015, up from 10.2% a decade earlier, with around two million in work compared with nine million men.
“The men here are also my suppliers, so you definitely must be present in the harbour, where there are no women,” the 52-year-old said.
Daikhi closes her restaurant during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and sells her wares from the stall she started with in Bouharoun, a village 50km west of the capital Algiers that is a tourist spot in summer, with small restaurants selling grilled sardines, squid, shrimps and bourek.
She makes a living, even if tourism remains underdeveloped in a country still reliant on oil and gas for more than 95% of its foreign earnings. – Reuters/Lamine Chikhi and Zohra Bensemra