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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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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.

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