Report recognises Arab women as ‘drivers of growth’

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Photo – bikyamasr

The social status of women in the UAE is improving with percentage of women in workforce hitting 12%, while Egypt has around 34%, a report released on Tuesday said. These figures indicate the role of women in economic development.

Booz & Company, a management consultancy firm, developed the Third Billion Index, which ranks 128 countries based on how they empower women as economic agents. The Index is a complex database of indicators women’s economic and social status and their potential for economic participation. Data is compiled by the World Economic Forum or the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The index divides women’s economic potential into two separate clusters: first, measures a government and other entities that consider the economic potential of women, such as women’s level of preparation for joining the workforce, the country’s access-to-work policies and entrepreneurial support, while the second centres on a set of observable aspects of women’s contribution to the national economy. This set comprises of inclusion in the workforce, the degree of advancement in the national economy and equal pay for equal work in practice.

Major findings

The results of the index lead to several revelations about government practices and women’s economic progress. The data shows a very strong correlation between index scores and beneficial outcomes. Around 128 countries are clustered into five broad categories:  “on the path to success,” “taking the right steps,” “forging their own path,” “average,” and  “at the starting gate.”

Developed countries are categorised “on the path to success,” while some countries which have introduced the right set of policies are categorised “as taking the right steps.” Most of the Arab states in the index are said to be at the starting gate.

The relationship indicates that positive steps taken by countries intended to economically empower women. In truth, all countries need unique requirements and input policies to create a solution that can best address women’s needs. However, Booz & Company’s research found several common challenges that women face in these countries.

Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region

Three countries from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are also featured in the Third Billion Index – Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In terms of the categories of this report, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE are all “at the starting gate”.

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