Labour inspection, gender equality and non-discrimination in the Arab states: guide book

This guide book builds on a number of global and regional materials on gender equality, discrimination and labour inspections. It is aimed to provide labour administrations in the Arab states with modern understanding and tools to use labour inspections strategically to enforce gender and non-discrimination related principles and rights at work with a vision to contribute to the realization of women’s economic and social empowerment in the Arab world.

In the context of the unprecedented changes and transformations that have been taking place in the Arab region since 2010, the critical importance of decent work has been evident. Women’s participation in this process of transformation has been crucial in highlighting their important role in society but also their aspirations for real gender equality.

Gender inequality remains a major concern in the region which has the lowest female economic participation in the world. Labour force participation rates for men average 76 per cent in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), while they are 27 per cent for women (versus 74 per cent and 56 per cent respectively for the rest of the world). The world of work in Arab states is not attractive to women, partly due to social values that assign women the primary role of caring for the family, and more importantly due to the failure of policies to provide women with opportunities and incentives to enter the labour market. Laws, regulations, and economic and fiscal policies pose obstacles to realizing Arab women’s economic rights.