What No One Tells You About Gender Inequality in the Arab World?

Gulf countries, being wealthy and expanding, in the last years, cannot be comprehended in population as appreciating having equal rights. It is because of the culture they have been practicing, and also the fast development of technology, as this population is completely varied, comprising a blend of peoples in the non-national settler’s labor sector. They are non-citizens, and their status is imbalanced and set to lengthen to make up the number of rights. However, another section is identified as a minority group in the Gulf country, as it is considered as a defect- namely women, despite belonging to the country’s citizens.

Women in the Arab world have changed based on the transformations of lifestyle and civilization throughout history. Both in past and present scenarios the situation of women differs between Arabic talking regions, age, and their rural and urban populations. Another factor that can be stated for the difference is local traditions, lifestyle, and religion. Further, the differences that contribute to women’s social or legal status, level of education, fitness, and sophistication. 

Although gender divergence is heartbreaking in global reality, the Arab countries face not only the prominent gap but also the powerful exception in redressing this inequality.

These countries have been suffering for a long time from financial and diplomatic insecurities, combined with ethnic hurdles and a system of established affection.

Further, it is combined by various extended humanitarian crises, like that of these four countries, Syria, Palestine, Yemen, and Iraq. All around these countries uncertainty is becoming the norm. These disputes have destroyed systems of civil safeguard. It also reduced outbreaks to safe aid and support, replaced communities, and inflated exposure that brings new unsecured thoughts for women. Of dispute, the gender equality target quickly vanishes from the schedule. 

A recent survey estimated gender inequality into four dimensions: 

  • Financial participation and opportunity
  • Educational accomplishment
  • Fitness and survival
  • Political accreditation

The score given for the Global Gender Gap is 68% and the remaining 32% is the gap. The MENA region alone scores about 40% for the gender gap. 

The UAE and Kuwait have decreased their gender gap in terms of financial participation and health, but the gap in salary remains the same. Qatar escalated women’s political participation by 10% in 2018 from no women in parliament in 2017. 

Despite its poor history in women’s equality, Saudi Arabia has decreased salary and upscale women’s labor enrollment. Although women’s freedom and mobility are restricted because of the position that male guardianship has in their place. 

There is not much change with Lebanon and Jordan, as Lebanon has minimal progress with the ratio of women in parliament. Oman has a vast gender gap than in the former years because of reduced financial participation.

Compared to the world, women in these four countries hold a mere 7% of managerial positions. Out of four, the three countries that fell in the Gulf, are Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Twelve out of eighteen countries in that region have regressed. We expect that at this pace the region needs at least 153 years to close the gap.  

One of the worst countries to fall off is Lebanon, despite its developing appearance. The other ten worst countries in the globally included list are Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and Lebanon.

When they took a report in the year 2016, Lebanon ranked 135th out of 145. But in 2017, the country fell to 137 out of 144. Again, in the year 2018, it got down  from 149 to 140 to take a toll down from the adjacent Arab countries, as well as Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, and Bahrain.  

Recent Economic Changes:

A survey conducted by UNESCO stated that about 34-57% of STEM graduates in Arab countries are mainly women. We consider it to be higher than that of the Universities of the US or Europe. 

Women run a growing number of firms from Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt more than men. In a wealthier country like the UAE, the number of business owners is women and they are increasing rapidly to add economic development to the country. Many of these women work in their family businesses and so they encourage them to study and do the job simultaneously. 

Yet thirteen of the fifteen countries have the lowest rate in women’s workforce that too from the Middle East and North Africa. The modest rate is from Yemen, followed by Syria, Jordan, Iran, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Lebanon, Egypt, Oman, Tunisia, Mauritania, and Turkey. It has to be noted that unemployment among women in the Middle East is double that of men. And it points out to low salary, the inadequacy of skills, and the poor faith that a woman’s place is at staying at home. 

Gender inequality remains an important worry in the region, which has the lowest female financial participation in the world. 

To Conclude:

Women can provide to the country’s economy by improving household income upto 25% so that it will lead many households out of poverty. Also, these increased household incomes will be beneficial for MENA region economies on the micro-level but also boost the economies on the macro level.   

I, Priya Nagarajan, is a past Assistant Professor, mentor, tutor, counselor. Writing has always been a passion of mine and so changed my path to my passion. I believe language is the best way to convey your thoughts and dreams to get the results. I believe it takes a personal approach to reach individual success. I write with a flair for creativity and a keen eye for the professional.

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