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Women's Economic Empowerment in Selected MENA Countries

The Impact of Legal Frameworks in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia

image of Women's Economic Empowerment in Selected MENA Countries

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.

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