Gender and Diversity Essay

Gender and Diversity Essay

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Although Women position in the labor market of the MENA region has improved in the past few years, female participation is the MENA region is still ranked as the lowest in the world (World Bank 55). Many reasons behind that lag were highlighted in the readings. Even though several structural reforms took place, the phenomena of female limited participation persists. Thus it seems that the problem does not lie in the demand side of female labor or the structure of the institutions, as much as it lies in the supply side. In other words, women’s decreased participation is accounted to the prevalent stereotypes, social and cultural norms in the region. Such norms that are holding many women from being active in the labor market had prevailed for so long, shaping both employer and women expectations of the labor market demands- making occupational segregation by sex in the MENA region inevitable.
Progress and gender diversity varies significantly from country to country and tends to reflect how women are viewed in a region’s society. The gender gap index, which examines “the gap between men & women based on economic, political, education & health criteria”, is an effective measure to benchmark the national gender gap of each country. According to the Global Gender Gap report 2013 by the World Economic forum, the gap exists the most in Arab countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and many other countries. This paper will attempt to prove that this gap is mostly accounted to the prevalent cultural norms in the MENA region.
Gender stereotypes and cultural norms have lead to discriminatory occupational segregation based on gender. Women are expected to work in certain occupations that are “gender appropriate”- limi...


... middle of paper ...


... and Gendered Labor Market : Evidence from Egypt” Centre for European economic research (Germany: Ithaca Press); (MN 55455
Women's Business Council, Maximising Women's Contribution to Future Economic Growth (2013): 1-53.
World Economic Forum (2013), Global Gender Gap.
Hijab N. Womanpower: The Arab Debate on Women at Work. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire]: Cambridge University Press; 1988.
Shaw RP. Mobilizing Human Resources in the Arab World. Boston: Kegan Paul International; 1983.
World Bank (2004), Gender and Development in the Middle East and North Africa : Women in the Public Sphere (WashingtonDC : World Bank), Chapter 3.
World Bank (2004), Gender and Development in the Middle East and North Africa: Women in the Public Sphere (WashingtonDC : World Bank), Chapter 4.
Yusuf Sidani. Women, work, and Islam in Arab societies. Women in Management Review. 2005;20:498-512

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