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From the Classroom to the Boardroom: Enhancing Women’s...

From the Classroom to the Boardroom: Enhancing Women’s Participation in the GCC Workforce

Published on: December 2013​
Author:
Genre: Feminisms|GCC|Gender|Gender policy​ Category: Social policy, Well-being and Happiness​

Women dominate higher education in more than half of the Middle East and Gulf countries. For example, in Kuwait, 64% of university students are women, and in Saudi Arabia, the percentage is 52. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Emirati women constitute 77% of total university students, the highest percentage of women in higher education in the world.  A recent estimate states that there are 24% more Emirati women than men in UAE institutions of higher education, with nearly eight out of ten UAE women pursuing higher education.   Despite these advancements in education, women’s labour participation rates in the MENA  region remain low, at an average of twenty percent compared to forty percent globally. This raises the question, why are women’s increased university attendance not translating into greater parity in the workplace? Dr. Maier states that attitudinal, institutional and socio-cultural factors inform women’s empowerment within the workforce. This policy note identifies barriers to women’s participation in the workplace in the region and proposes recommendations to overcome these challenges.

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