Gender equality and non-discrimination

Gender equality is central to the ILO’s goal of decent work for all.  The region has the world’s lowest rate of female economic participation, and, despite increasing levels of education amongst women in the region, this figure has been resistant to change. There are several challenges to women entering and staying in the labour force such as patriarchal norms and stereotypes, lack of childcare facilities, lack of opportunity, workplace harassment, inadequate transport,  low wages, and legal restrictions on labour rights, and each plays a role. The ILO in the Arab States works to address a wide range of gender-related challenges in the world of work in order to develop social and economic policies which promote gender equality and equal opportunity in the workplace. See more

Facts & Figures

  • The Arab region has the world’s lowest rate of female labour force participation - 18.4 percent compared to the global average of 48 per cent. By contrast, male labour force participation rates, at 77 per cent, are above the global average of 75 percent.
  • Female unemployment in the Arab states is at 15.6 percent – three times higher than the world average.
  • Women in managerial positions are low in the region, with only 11 percent of women holding managerial positions as compared to the world average of 27.1 percent.
  • Unpaid childcare work result in women spending almost five times more hours than men on unpaid care work.
Source: ILO World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2019