A Research Companion
Edited by Mustafa F. Özbilgin and Jawad Syed
Chapter 2: Diversity and Inequality Among Women in Employment in the Arab Middle East Region: A New Research Agenda
Haya Al-Dajani Introduction The definition of the Arab Middle East region developed by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA) will be adhered to in this chapter. Thus, the Arab Middle East region comprises the following 13 states: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen. All 13 states included within UNESCWA’s definition share a multitude of variables including language, religion, historical colonisation, culture and identity (Metcalfe, ch. 9, this volume). Alongside such similarities, differences also exist among the 13 states. These include, but are not limited to, women’s social status, political regimes, wealth creation, population density and armed conflict. A study undertaken by the World Bank (2005) identifying population and GDP trends for the 13 states as well as the time in days required to start a business, the number of internet users and the number of fixed line and mobile phone subscribers, indicated that local populations in different states had unequal levels of access to the world beyond their localities. Syria had the lowest number of internet users (57.8 per 1000) while Oman had the highest (276.1 per 1000). When compared to total populations, telephone and internet usage was found to be very low within each state. Interestingly, the World Bank study results showed that the time range for starting a business in the Arab Middle East region varied between 18 days in Jordan and 106 days in the Palestinian Territories. Finally,...
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