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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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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.

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