Women in Public Life

Gender, Law and Policy in the Middle East and North Africa

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Public institutions play a critical role in promoting gender-sensitive policies and gender equality more broadly, in the MENA region and around the world. Advancing gender balance in public institutions and public life more generally, including the judiciary, parliaments, and the political executive constitutes a major step towards gender-responsive policies and non-discrimination and serves as a key milestone in promoting gender equality. This report provides a comparative overview of the policies affecting women’s participation in public life across the MENA region. It examines the existing barriers to women’s access to public decision-making positions, and provides a cross-country assessment of current instruments and institutions to advance women’s empowerment in the MENA region. The report undertakes an analysis of the existing legal barriers for gender equality in public life, including with regard to political and economic rights, freedom of movement, labour law, family law, access to justice and gender-based violence and provides focused policy-recommendations to close legal and institutional gaps. The report has been prepared by the OECD, in partnership with Centre for Arab Women Training and Research (CAWTAR) and with the support of the Arab Administrative Development Organisation (ARADO) and covers the following countries: Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.


Embedding gender considerations in public policies across the MENA region

This chapter examines mechanisms for embedding gender considerations in public policies and laws in the MENA region. It provides an overview of gender mainstreaming practices in the region, including the availability of related strategies, and requirements for gender impact assessments and gender-responsive budgeting. It argues that, by considering regulations and budgets as gender-neutral, policy makers risk potentially making them gender-blind and ignoring different circumstances faced by both men and women. The chapter also emphasises that robust measurement and gender-disaggregated data provide the necessary foundation for evidence-based policies. It shows that, while many MENA countries report measuring the status of women, many data gaps remain. Lastly, the chapter showcases current citizen engagement and public consultation practices in the region, including efforts to involve both men and women facing barriers in the consultation process. In conclusion, the chapter offers good practice examples from OECD and MENA countries, and a set of recommendations that aim to support the governments in the region in implementing gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting.


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