A widowed Egyptian mother disguised herself as a man for 43 years to provide for her family - and has now been recognised for her sacrifice.

Sisa Abu Daooh, 64, was deemed an "ideal mother" of the Luxor Governorate, in northern Egypt, Al Arabiya reported. She received the "woman breadwinner" award for her efforts to provide for her daughter Houda and grandchildren following her husband's death.

Daooh disguised herself as a man to go out and earn an income, because her local culture and tradition opposes women working in public. This is to prevent unmarried men and women from mingling.

Daooh wore a full-lengh robe known as "jilbab" and a white turban, or sometimes a hat worn by men, known as a "Taqiyah", and black masculine shoes. She carried out several jobs including making bricks and polishing shoes in the street. She kept working after her daughter married a man who fell ill and was unable to work.

"I preferred working in hard labour like lifting bricks and cement bags and cleaning shoes to begging in the streets in order to earn a living for myself and for my daughter and her children," she said.

"So as to protect myself from men and the harshness of their looks and being targeted by them due to traditions, I decided to be a man ... and dressed in their clothes and worked alongside them in other villages where no one knows me."