Women in the MENA region face similar barriers as other women in the world to reach top positions in business and management. One of the key challenges, is that women face the double burden of work and family care responsibilities. A research study in the GCC countries indicated that women considered balancing work and family/life as the single most important obstacle to their career aspirations. Cultural stereotyping and inadequate self-perception also hamper women’s career advancement. Gender biased legislation, as well as limited access to finance and networking can act as disincentives for women to enter or exit the labour market and to pursue careers. Amidst the multiple challenges constraining women’s representation in the business world, responses are also gaining ground in the MENA region. Governments have introduced reforms at macro levels starting with legislation. Most reforms do not necessarily target women in business and management directly. However, as they aim to ensure greater equality of opportunities generally, they can ultimately influence women’s economic choices and outcomes.
International Labour Organization 2016