Women in Public Life

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

image of Women in Public Life

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.


Towards gender-responsive laws and policies in the MENA region

Ensuring conformity with international standards in the area of gender equality and eliminating gender-based discriminations are the first steps necessary for achieving gender equality. This chapter presents the data on the conformity of MENA countries with international gender equality standards, and highlights the remaining CEDAW reservations and gaps with international standards. It reviews the integration of gender equality provisions in the constitutions across the MENA region and identifies a set of good practice examples in this area. Finally, the chapter highlights a concept of gender mainstreaming as the mechanism necessary to ensure a gender-sensitive approach to policy making. It concludes by offering concrete recommendations to policy makers in the region to enhance compliance with international standards in gender equality and to reduce gender-based discrimination in domestic legislation.


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error