Female employment in MENA's manufacturing sector: the implications of firm-related and national factors

Female employment in MENA's manufacturing sector: the implications of firm-related and national factors

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has realised significant advances toward improving women’s well-being and social status over the last few decades. However, women’s employment rate in the MENA region remains one of the lowest in the world. This paper examines the implications of firm-related and national factors for female employment rates in manufacturing firms located in the MENA region.

The empirical analysis is implemented for firm-level data derived from the World Bank’s Enterprise Surveys database. It uses fractional logit and alternative models to carry out the estimations for female overall employment rates and for female non-production employment rates. The results reveal significant implications of firm-related factors, such as private foreign ownership, exporting activities, firm size, and labor composition for female employment rates. They also show that national factors, such as economic development and gender equality, promote female employment rates. There are considerable differences between the estimated marginal effects for female overall employment rates and those for female non-production employment rates.

This paper provides policy-makers with important directions to design strategies aiming at enhancing women’s economic opportunities and employment rates.

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