Working Women in Arab Countries: A Case for Cautious Optimism

  • Yusuf M. SidaniEmail author
Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)


Working women in the Arab world have been suffering from significant problems in their participation and economic/organizational well-being. Statistics point to the fact that the gap between males and females is significant in terms of pay and participation rates. Some cultural and institutional factors that could be responsible –at least partially- for such deficiencies are explored. We argue, however, that there is still room for cautious optimism in relation to the future status of working women. Gradual, though slow, positive changes are indeed happening in Arab contexts. Moreover, a growing discourse within religious circles seems to be more welcoming of fair opportunity and treatment of working women. Changes at the political level (Arab Spring), with their aspiration to secure more freedoms to disadvantaged societal classes, would also help to support women’s causes. There is still a danger that if the Arab Spring loses its initial course and old (or new) dictatorships emerge again, this will be a setback, not only for whole societies yearning for greater freedoms, but also for women’s rise in Arab societies.


Women Gender Culture Arab countries 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Olayan School of BusinessAmerican University of BeirutBeirutLebanon

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