In the last two decades, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has closed many critical gender gaps, especially in ensuring equal access for girls and boys to education and health care. Today, the region can be proud that its women are enrolling in far greater numbers in university than ever before. Indeed, in many countries, young women are more educated than yound men. At the same time, MENA has also witnessed th largest decrease inmaternal mortality in the world.
These achievements are commendable, and the next step is expanding the role of MENA women in the work place and in public life. Currently, only one in four women of working age are employed or looking for work. Many of them find it very difficult to get a job. Young women in many MENA countries face unemployment rates as high as 50 percent. It is no surprise then that the region’s young educated women are calling for greater access to economic opportunities and a more equal, inclusive society.
These unmet aspirations and the vast untapped potential of half of the region’s people, at a time when the reion is undergoing a mementous transformation, is the context of Opening Doors: Gender Equality and Development in the Middle East and North Africa. This report is a regional companion piece to the World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development.
Download the MENA Development Report here