Rich natural resources, solid infrastructure and an expanding middle class sheltered the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) from the global financial crisis. But the region is not without challenges.
Chief among these is addressing the region’s acute unemployment problem. Over the next 10 years, the labor force in the region is expected to grow at around 2% per year. Given the already high unemployment, creating jobs for the next generation is one of the most important economic challenges for the region’s leaders.
Tapping into all the talent available is crucial. This means helping more women into the workforce and empowering them to become a first-class citizen of society.
In MENA, the array of challenges facing governments and policy-makers – political and social instability, water and food scarcity, and unemployment – prevents the issue of women’s empowerment from achieving greater prominence.
One way of bringing about positive change is to make top-down and bottom-up changes that are systemic, systematic and sustainable. Unfortunately, such changes are not easy to implement, partly because, in MENA, education does not necessarily translate into employment. This is despite research showing that if you have more women in positions of power, it leads to higher ethical standards and lowered corruption.
Greater flexibility and a more progressive attitude from employers are the solutions. Encouraging MENA corporations to hire women of all ages will also help.
No doubt the political and social instability in the region is the number one issue. But being optimistic is important, because even the slightest increase in the number of working women can bring about great change.
Article from: Citizen Today
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