Competitiveness and Private Sector Development

2076-5762 (online)
2076-5754 (print)
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This series of publications addresses different aspects of private sector development in non-OECD regions, including Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, Southeast Asia, South East Europe and Eurasia. Reports provide recommendations at the national, regional and sector level to support countries in improving their investment climate, enhancing competitiveness and entrepreneurship, raising living standards and alleviating poverty.

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Women's Economic Empowerment in Selected MENA Countries

Women's Economic Empowerment in Selected MENA Countries

The Impact of Legal Frameworks in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia You do not have access to this content

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07 Oct 2017
9789264279322 (PDF) ;9789264279315(print)

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This report examines how current legal provisions in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia are impacting women’s ability to fully participate in economic life, both as employees and entrepreneurs. It is based on a comparative analysis of the various rights set out in constitutions, personal status laws, labour laws, in addition to tax and business laws. The report recognises the considerable progress made – in particular in the aftermath of the 2011 uprisings – following the adoption of constitutional and institutional reforms to strengthen women’s status.

Yet ensuring sufficient opportunities for women remains a challenge in the six countries. The report suggests that this may be due to different factors such as: the existence of certain laws that are gender discriminatory, contradictions between various legal frameworks, lack of enforcement mechanisms, and barriers for women in accessing justice.  Through targeted policies, countries can tackle these challenges, and help unleash women’s potential to boost growth, competitiveness and inclusive social development.

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  • Foreword and acknowledgements

    As governments around the world are increasingly conscious that inequalities have become one of the principal obstacles to growth, they also realise that the first step towards building more inclusive and prosperous societies is to achieve Gender equality. While it is first and foremost a matter of rights, all economies also stand to gain from empowering women to use their full economic potential as this directly impacts countries’ competitiveness, productivity and social well-being. It is estimated that raising women’s labour force participation rates worldwide to male levels could add USD 12 trillion, or 26%, to global GDP by 2025.

  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary

    Women’s Economic Empowerment in Selected MENA Countries analyses the challenges facing Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia in their efforts to boost women’s employment and entrepreneurship, and offers policy recommendations for governments moving forward. It focuses on four main areas: Chapter 1 provides an overview of women’s economic participation in the six countries; Chapter 2 examines international and constitutional provisions and women’s access to justice; Chapter 3 analyses the impact of family law on women’s empowerment; and Chapter 4 considers labour law in relation to women’s rights as employees and entrepreneurs.

  • Assessment and recommendations to foster women's economic empowerment in selected MENA countries

    This chapter provides an overview of the report’s key findings on aspects critical to boosting women’s economic empowerment in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. The report offers insights into women’s labour market participation and entrepreneurship across the six countries, takes stock of countries’ international and constitutional commitments to gender equality, and looks at women’s access to justice. It examines the existing legal frameworks governing women’s work as employees and entrepreneurs and assesses the impact of family law and traditional gender roles on outcomes. It also provides a succinct list of policy recommendations to support governments in their ongoing reform efforts to build more prosperous and inclusive societies by unleashing the economic potential of women.

  • Women's participation in the labour market and entrepreneurship in selected MENA countries

    This chapter presents an overview of women’s educational attainment, participation in the labour market and involvement in entrepreneurship in the six countries under review – Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. It examines women’s engagement in the economies of the six countries as compared to men’s participation as well as to women’s economic involvement in other parts of the world. The chapter also seeks to better understand the main features defining women’s economic status and the different characteristics of men and women in employment and entrepreneurship.

  • International and constitutional commitments and women's access to justice in selected MENA countries

    This chapter presents the legal framework for women’s empowerment established by international conventions and regional commitments, in particular the principle of equality and the right to work. It reviews the valuable efforts of all six countries to grant women and men equal rights in line with international commitments. It also notes that effective implementation of constitutional commitments requires that they be incorporated at other legislative levels and underpinned by effective enforcement mechanisms through the justice system. The chapter describes how women in the six countries can gain access to courts via international conventions, national constitutions, labour and business laws, and family law. It presents suggestions for increasing women’s awareness of their legal rights and improving their access to justice.

  • The impact of family law on women's economic empowerment in selected MENA countries

    The personal status code regulates family matters and domestic relations. This chapter reviews key provisions of the family codes of Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. It examines to what extent these provisions are consonant with the equality and non-discrimination principles set forth in international conventions to which the countries are party and that are incorporated, to varying degrees, into their respective constitutions. The chapter examines women’s ability to make autonomous decisions about marriage, the role of male guardians in this context, men’s right to have multiple wives and juvenile marriage. It also reviews rights and obligations with respect to family roles and decisions, including the right to work or leave the house. The chapter also puts into perspective gender-based differentiation in relation to wealth, divorce, filiation or heritage.

  • Women's labour rights and entrepreneurship in selected MENA countries

    This chapter examines women’s labour rights in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. It considers labour law in terms of gender equality and nondiscrimination, and reviews the impact of business law on women’s entrepreneurship.

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    • Annex to the acknowledgements

      The methodology for elaboration of the country reports that supported this publication was standard across countries. In-depth desk research by local consultants on domestic legal provisions was complemented by national consultations among experts from a wide spectrum of backgrounds (see “Acknowledgements”, above). In addition, focus groups were organised with local stakeholders, including entrepreneurs, undergraduate business students in their final year, unemployed women, women working in remote regions and, where possible, women working from home. These exchanges enriched the research findings with insights from life experiences, and also raised awareness about women’s rights. In Libya, the ongoing conflict affected access to data and limited the possibility of reaching out to focus groups. Focus group participants are listed below, along with colleagues from the OECD who provided input to the publication.

    • The Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI)

      The OECD Development Centre’s Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) is a cross-country measure of gender-based discrimination in social institutions across 160 countries. The SIGI looks at laws, practises and attitudes across five socio-economic areas that affect women’s lives: discriminatory family code, restricted physical integrity, son bias, restricted resources and assets, and restricted civil liberties. By focusing on discriminatory social institutions, the SIGI aims to expose the underlying drivers of gender inequality that block countries’ progress towards achieving equal outcomes for women and men.

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