Today, only one in five women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are employed – the lowest rate of women’s workforce participation in the world.

Education For Employment (EFE) and NAMA Women Advancement Establishment launched the #ArabWomenInspire Campaign to change this.

#ArabWomenInspire highlights the stories of incredible women who graduated from EFE and overcame obstacles to succeed in their first jobs and beyond.

We unpack the issue of women’s unemployment and guide stakeholders in how they can support women's economic empowerment.

The Stories:

The Issue:

Women’s access to education in the region has improved over the past decades, and in many MENA countries, young women outnumber their male peers in university. But academic access has not translated into economic opportunity.

Too many MENA women still face bias, cultural and structural barriers that block them from the workforce. Many struggle to find role models of successful working women – especially in traditionally male fields. Studies suggest it will take 157 years for MENA to achieve gender parity.

Learn More:

Why It Matters:

All women should have the opportunity to reach their highest potential economically, professionally and socially.

When women have the opportunity to work, they find a source of pride and financial stability for themselves and their families. They can drive business success and economic growth by increasing workplace diversity and productivity. If MENA countries close the gender gap in the labor force, the region's GDP could increase by $2.7 trillion by 2025, according to estimates.

Take Action with Impact:

Since EFE’s inception, we have connected over 57,000 young women to the world of work. In doing so, we’ve learned that collective action is needed to remove the barriers to women’s employment. Here’s how you can help:


Hire more women into their first job to diversify your talent pool

Follow #ArabWomenInspire, @EFE_Global and @NAMAWomen

Showcase the Women Ambassadors' stories (contact mdavis@efe.org)

Invest in programs that help women access economic opportunities

Enroll in programs that provide you with skills, networks, and job opportunities

About #ArabWomenInspire:

In 2019, EFE and NAMA partnered to produce a regional campaign that raises awareness of the power of Arab women who work. Through the campaign, EFE and NAMA selected six extraordinary working women from Egypt, Jordan and Palestine. With support from the Western Union Foundation, we are highlighting their stories on film and on stage – both in MENA and globally – to show strong and bold Arab working women who can overcome stereotypes and inspire the next generation of young women in the Arab world to enter the job market. Contact mdavis@efe.org to learn more and to get involved.

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