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Opening Doors : Gender Equality and Development in the Middle East and North Africa

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  • World Bank

Abstract

Since the early 1990s, countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region have made admirable progress in reducing the gap between girls and boys in areas such as access to education and health care. Indeed, almost all young girls in the Region attend school, and more women than men are enrolled in university. Over the past two decades, maternal mortality declined 60 percent, the largest decrease in the world. Women in MENA are more educated than ever before. It is not only in the protest squares that have seen women whose aspirations are changing rapidly but increasingly unmet. The worldwide average for the participation of women in the workforce is approximately 50 percent. In MENA, their participation is half that at 25 percent. Facing popular pressure to be more open and inclusive, some governments in the region are considering and implementing electoral and constitutional reforms to deepen democracy. These reforms present an opportunity to enhance economic, social, and political inclusion for all, including women, who make up half the population. However, the outlook remains uncertain. Finally, there are limited private sector and entrepreneurial prospects not only for jobs but also for those women who aspire to create and run a business. These constraints present multiple challenges for reform. Each country in MENA will, of course, confront these constraints in different contexts. However, inherent in many of these challenges are rich opportunities as reforms unleash new economic actors. For the private sector, the challenge is to create more jobs for young women and men. The World Bank has been pursuing an exciting pilot program in Jordan to assist young women graduates in preparing to face the work environment.

Suggested Citation

  • World Bank, 2013. "Opening Doors : Gender Equality and Development in the Middle East and North Africa," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 12552.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbpubs:12552
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    File URL: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/12552/751810PUB0EPI002060130Opening0doors.pdf?sequence=1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Paolo Verme & Abdoul Gadiry Barry & Jamal Guennouni, 2016. "Female Labor Participation in the Arab World: Evidence from Panel Data in Morocco," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 30(3), pages 258-284, September.
    2. Rougier, Eric, 2016. "“Fire in Cairo”: Authoritarian–Redistributive Social Contracts, Structural Change, and the Arab Spring," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 148-171.
    3. AfDB AfDB, . "ORNA - North Africa - Annual Report 2014," Annual Report, African Development Bank, number 2139.
    4. Ragui Assaad, 2014. "Making sense of Arab labor markets: the enduring legacy of dualism," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-25, December.
    5. AfDB AfDB, . "The AfDB Group in North Africa 2014," Country Brochure, African Development Bank, number 2138.
    6. Fischer, Justina AV & Aydıner-Avşar, Nursel, 2015. "Are women in the MENA region really that different from women in Europe? Globalization, conservative values and female labor market participation," MPRA Paper 63800, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Baliamoune-Lutz, Mina, 2013. "The Effectiveness of Foreign Aid to Women?s Equality Organizations in the MENA : Does Aid Promote Women's Political Participation?," WIDER Working Paper Series 074, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    8. Assaad, Ragui & Hendy, Rana & Lassassi, Moundir & Yassin, Shaimaa, 2018. "Explaining the MENA Paradox: Rising Educational Attainment, Yet Stagnant Female Labor Force Participation," IZA Discussion Papers 11385, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Ishac Diwan & Jeni Klugman, 2016. "Patterns of Veiling Among Muslim Women," Working Papers 995, Economic Research Forum, revised Apr 2016.
    10. Chopra, Parvesh K., 2015. "Country Risk: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Northern African Economies - Il rischio paese: un’analisi teorica e empirica con particolare riferimento ai paesi del Nord ," Economia Internazionale / International Economics, Camera di Commercio Industria Artigianato Agricoltura di Genova, vol. 68(1), pages 81-137.
    11. Lobna M. Abdellatif & Mohamed Ramadan & Sarah A. Elbakry, 2017. "How Gender Biased Are Female-Headed Household Transfers in Egypt?," Working Papers 1126, Economic Research Forum, revised 08 Oct 2017.

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