Achieving Gender Equality in the Arab Region amidst the Changing World of Work

Gender equality and women’s economic empowerment are critical ingredients to the realization of economic growth and sustainable development.

On the global level, overcoming gender disparity would result in additional USD 12 trillion in annual 2025 Gross Domestic Product (GDP), equivalent in size to the current GDP of Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom combined (McKinsey, 2015).

On a regional level, the share of regional output generated by women is only 18 per cent in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region while women constitute approximately 50 per cent of the population. In the MENA region, boosting female labour-force participation would contribute 85 per cent of the total additional economic opportunity (i.e. GDP and Job opportunities). Studies suggest that the potential boost could be as high as 47 per cent of the region’s GDP (McKinsey, 2015). Nevertheless, as in other parts of the world, gender gaps at work around the Arab world still persist, whether paid or unpaid, formal or informal, public or private, agricultural or entrepreneurial.