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Middle East and North Africa - Women’s Economic Participation in Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon (English)

Female labor force participation in the Mashreq is exceptionally low, a problem likely to be exacerbated by the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This report calls for action in the following areas: stronger economic growth, effective policy action to close legal gaps, promotion of more egalitarian attitudes, access to quality childcare, and the provision of safe transportation. The main focus of the report is women’s economic opportunities, as opposed to the broader issue of women’s empowerment. The report analyzes other aspects of female empowerment, but in particular as those aspects influence, determine, and are affected by women’s participation in paid economic activities. Economic opportunities encompass the availability and possibility of taking advantage of earnings opportunities as well as the existence of an enabling environment in terms of the appropriate legal, institutional setting. The report is structured as follows: chapter one provides a description of women’s economic opportunities in Mashreq countries and highlights differences in labor participation across critical life stages. Chapter two presents evidence on the different barriers faced by women toward participating in the labor market, related to legal aspects, informal institutions, and markets. Chapter three provides a brief description of international experiences with sizeable increases in female participation in the labor market, chapter four expands to explore important areas where policies can be improved in the Mashreq countries to lower these barriers and close participation gaps, as well as an emerging opportunity that, if used well, can accelerate this process. Chapter five concludes and reflects on how the COVID-19 outbreak and the measures to contain it may exacerbate some of the barriers faced by women.


  • Author

    Lugo,Maria Ana, Muller,Miriam, Wai-Poi,Matthew Grant

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  • Country

    Middle East and North Africa,

  • Region

    Middle East and North Africa,

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  • Doc Name

    Middle East and North Africa - Women’s Economic Participation in Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon

  • Keywords

    female labor force participation rates; limited access to capital; economic opportunities for woman; Gender-Based Violence; Demographic and Health Survey; gender-based discrimination; role in society; law and regulation; Early Childhood Development; case of emergency; share of employment; take time; access to child; participation of woman; mobile phone access; labor force survey; annual labor; process of development; participation by woman; digital gender gap; annual economic growth; gender wage gap; barrier to woman; high unemployment rate; lack of awareness; enforcement of right; decline in fertility; effects of tax; barrier to participation; lack of knowledge; Early childhood education; adolescent fertility rate; number of women; education for woman; education level; female participation; Labor Market; Public Transportation; young woman; educated woman; life event; married woman; value added; labor demand; female workers; blinder decomposition; labor earning; survey data; female unemployment; female education; equal right; female employment; working-age population; greater access; digital economy; age cohort; new job; legal restriction; Job Creation; Gender Equality; regression results; elderly care; market failure; national household; sexual harassment; family-friendly work; clear definition; recent evidence; equal pay; inclusive growth; legal right; middle class; public space; part-time work; increasing rate; young age; legal aspect; fair treatment; men worker; female population; female lfp; demographic growth; social life; fiscal constraint; full employment; legal constraint; equal access; rural area; early age; economic shock; land use; working woman; Sexual Violence; low education; adequate facility; legal framework; digital infrastructure; health issue; in work; microenterprise sector; digital technology; flexible hour; married man; legal change; recent studies; reproductive right; small-scale farmer; market barrier; digital transformation; women's right; gender policy; rural woman; gender discrimination; traditional values; massive increase; several reasons; individual level; civil society; labor discrimination; international community; social media; young men; digital skills; mobile access; local researcher; school closure; job offer; increased opportunity; awareness campaign; public subsidy; societal attitudes; childcare services; good lighting; bus stop; care industry; transportation planning; security concern; Urban Planning; ticket sale; new economy; psychological barrier; public provision; domestic work; private service; poor child; human capital; improved public; resources allocation; several factors; earning capacity; Flex Work; bus schedule; aging society; baby cart; children of ages; unmet demand; Social Protection; large business; productive activity; gainful employment; marital status; employment income; educational violence; young child; female business; institutional framework; knowledge gap; gender norm; lowering barrier; payment conditions; education enrollment; export industry; young girl; employment gap; account ownership; mobile money; political participation; Land Ownership; firm ownership; firm size; younger generation; peaceful society; development partner; safe transportation; economic empowerment; subsidiary right; noncommercial purposes; social scientist; strategic guidance; dependency ratio; legal reform; work force; educated men



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Lugo,Maria Ana Muller,Miriam Wai-Poi,Matthew Grant

Middle East and North Africa - Women’s Economic Participation in Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon (English). Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.