Women in Business and Management: Gaining Momentum in the Middle East and North Africa

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

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