How to improve women economic inclusion in the Mediterranean? 2
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Juli Choquet
Friday 30 March 2018 Last update on Friday, March 30, 2018 At 9:04 AM

The World Bank Group’s women business and law reported barriers preventing women from North Africa and the Middle East from getting a job or owning a business.

Major reforms to include women in the economic life are still in progress. For the World Bank MENA (Middle East and North Africa), more could be done with an exception over Iraq among five Economys in the world carrying out 3 major reforms in the last 2 years.

A scoring system was created by the World Bank to compare Economys from 0 to 100. Indicators are taking into account: accessing institutions, using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, going to court, building credit, and protecting women from violence.

With no surprise, the MENA region has the lower rates in the world giving the scoring. Sarah Iqbal, Program Manager of the Women, Business and the Law project from the World Bank explains: “Research shows that increased women’s participation in the labour force boosts economic growth, which leads to increased prosperity for all. So, when women win, we all win and a first step in this direction is to remove legal barriers that prevent women from making their own economic choices.”

As a matter of fact, Iraq extended the paid maternity leaves from 72 to 98 days into the new labour code.

Another gender-based discrimination is about the age of retirement: 58% of the MENA region has a different treatment by law against women lower by five years in the average. This is affecting them from their earning and saving along their lifetime as well as pension benefit contribution.

Many examples though show that things are slightly changing: Algeria and Bahrein passed a domestic violence law and West Bank and Gaza stripe introduced 84 days paid maternity leave against 70 days before.

The report underlines efforts made by Tunisia and Iran to improve women access to finance.

Concerning women’s violence, the government still have to pave the way for impunity: the average score of the MENA region is evaluated at 24. More than one third registered a 0 scoring as no public policy has been discussed. Indeed 70% of the MENA region has no legislation on harassment at work. Many reforms are urging concerning sexual harassment in the private sphere.

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