On November 23, 2015, Education For Employment and partners Bayt.com and YouGov launched the research initiative First Jobs for Young Women in the Middle East & North Africa: Expectations and Reality.
With over a quarter of the region’s young people locked out of the workforce, there are few issues in MENA that have proven as intractable as youth unemployment. The situation is particularly bleak for young women: in some MENA countries, over 40% are unemployed. Yet if women’s employment equaled that of men’s, the region could see a 47% rise in GDP over the next decade, according to a recent report. On a personal level, women’s employment can foster the dignity and financial independence that transform individuals and families.
The First Jobs for Young Women in the Middle East & North Africa: Expectations and Reality focused specifically on young women in MENA to understand where their expectations around recruitment and workplace benefits might diverge from those of employers, and how the attitudes of each group might influence women’s participation in the workforce.
The research points to concrete actions that employers, NGOs, governments and young women themselves can adopt to help more young women enter and stay at work.
1. First, we need to build better pathways into the working world.
2. Equipping job seekers with the right skills, information and expectations is equally important.
3. If we want to encourage more women to enter the workforce, the benefits and policies that employers implement should focus on what really matters to young women.
4. Finally, it is important to raise awareness of the current demand for women employees in the workplace, and further increase this demand.
There are tangible steps that governments, NGOs, employers and young women themselves can undertake to increase women’s participation in the workforce. If they succeed, the impact of women on economies and societies across MENA could be profound. You can read the full white paper findings hereand read a blog with recommendations for employers and the development community featured by the Concordia Summit.