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dc.contributor.authorBoustati, Alma
dc.identifier.citationBoustati, Alma. (2020) Women’s Employment in North Africa. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.en
dc.description.abstractDespite increased educational parity between the genders and declining fertility rates, female labour force participation rates in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia remain low and even declining. This phenomenon is a shared attribute among Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries and has therefore been dubbed by the literature as ‘the MENA gender paradox’. The literature covers this topic either through a deep dive in one country or a group of countries to understand demographic patterns of participating women and their experiences in the labour market, or through a regional perspective, pointing to shared structural, institutional, or cultural qualities that result in the low female labour force participation. The first branch of literature makes apparent that part of the low participation can be attributed to an accounting issue; women are overrepresented in subsistence work, which is hard to capture and goes uncounted in most surveys. Beyond that, education and occupation matter; educated women constitute a minority in the population but a majority among participating women. Within the second branch of literature, some look to cultural or Islamic values to explain the low female labour force participation. This is met with mixed results as well as criticism regarding weak conceptualization and reductionism. Instead, other studies delve deeply into the various economic, structural, and institutional factors and the interactions between them that caused the sustainability of these cultural norms and, consequently, the stagnation in female labour force participation. These include factors like dual labour markets that push women into unemployment and inactivity, social policies that reinforce a traditional family structure, and the resource curse from oil revenues that inhibited the growth of female-dominated fields (the traded sector) and maintained a high level of wages that allowed the one breadwinner family to remain affordable.en
dc.description.sponsorshipFCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)en
dc.publisherInstitute of Development Studiesen
dc.relation.ispartofseriesK4D Helpdesk Report;916
dc.subjectEconomic Developmenten
dc.subjectWork and Labouren
dc.titleWomen’s Employment in North Africaen
dc.rights.holder© Crown copyright 2020en
rioxxterms.funderDepartment for International Development, UK Governmenten

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  • K4D [937]
    K4D supports learning and the use of evidence to improve the impact of development policy and programmes. The programme is designed to assist the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and other partners to be innovative and responsive to rapidly changing and complex development challenges.

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