Trade and the Persistence of the MENA ‘Gender Equality Paradox’

Delivering sustainable economic growth
Feb 26, 2024 | Policy Center for the New South

The MENA region has one of the lowest female labour-participation rates in the world, and the lowest share of women in thetotal labour force, despite significant progress in reducinggender inequality in health and education This has contributed to the so-called“MENA gender-equality paradox”, suggests Mina Baliamoune inher report for the Policy Center for the New South. Greater femaleparticipation in the labour market and ininternational trade have been recognized as important drivers for economicgrowth, and essential targets in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs). However, achieving both targets simultaneously will be difficult, ifnot impossible, in most MENA countries without l policies to eliminate theremarkably high levels of gender inequality in the labour market. Latin America has seen a consistently positive impact oftrade openness on women’s share of the labour force.

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