In Kuwait, the Kuwait Trade Union Federation (KTUF) is working closely with the Public Authority for Manpower to address the specific issues facing migrant workers during the pandemic, including expired residence permits, late payment of wages, and overcrowded living conditions (Connel, 2020[68]). Gender equality is considered a critical element in achieving Decent Work for All Women and Men, in order to effect social and institutional change that leads to sustainable development with equity and growth. Data for OECD only include high-income OECD countries. [31] ILO (2018), Women and men in the informal economy: a statistical picture, In Lebanon, where women make up 80% of the nursing staff, the government has granted paid sick leave to medical personnel in hospitals. On average, MENA women allocate 89% of their working day to unpaid care work, leaving them barely any time to work for pay, compared to 20% for their male counterparts (Charmes, 2019[50]). Women and girls in internal displacement., [34] ILO (2019), ILO modelled estimates, Employment distribution by occupation, Figure 4 shows that MENA women are more concentrated in the agriculture sector than men. After adjusting for inflation (to obtain figures “in real terms”), this is 4.2% lower than in 2008. Other strategies adopted include in-kind support for families in urgent need. ← 12. Lockdowns and curfew measures are likely to exacerbate the already high rates of domestic violence across the MENA region, not only due to factors such as mounting concerns over job insecurity, cramped living spaces for large families, reduced services and difficulty to report violence in conditions of lockdown, but also to restrictive social norms that see men as heads of household and responsible for the family income. In Yemen, UNFPA is providing support to the Reproductive Health Department of the country’s main referral hospital for the treatment of COVID-19 cases. In Lebanon, UN Women is working with a number of Ministries to ensure that women are adequately targeted in the different components of the COVID-19 response, including social protection, cash transfer programming and domestic violence issues. [54] CAPMAS, NCW and UNFPA (2016), The Egypt economic cost of gender-based violence survey (ECGBVS) 2015, UNFPA, An example is UN Women’s blockchain cash-disbursement system, which has enabled over 200 refugee women involved in cash-for-work programmes to continue receiving cash. One strategy has been to expand the reach of social assistance programmes or put in place ad-hoc social assistance measures. In certain countries, such as Lebanon, which were experiencing a severe economic crisis prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, room for fiscal solutions is significantly burdened. Emerging findings suggest that confinement measures increase women’s vulnerability to gender-based violence (GBV). A recent survey20 conducted by the Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAB) showed that68% of women respondents reported a significant increase in household duties, compared to 44% of men in the Palestinian Authority. Girls risk facing disproportionate difficulties in accessing ICT-based learning due to their overall lower levels of digital inclusion. Information provided by El Sayed Torki, Federation of Egyptian Industries. The report covers 141 countries. [81] IDMC, Impact and Plan International (2020), Thematic series: Hidden in plain sight. The 2018 World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report provides critical insight into the extent of gender inequality in the Arab region. 47% and 48% of women hold part-time jobs in Morocco and the Palestinian Authority, respectively. Examples from front runner cities documented in the URBACT Gender Equal Cities, such as Umeå, will inspire action. The measures included the call upon the government to consider services for women victims and survivors of violence essential services, the Ministry of Health (MoH) to conduct COVID-19 testing for women and their children before referring them to shelters, the Police to ensure women victims of violence safety until the test result is issued, and the Shelter and the MoH to cooperate to provide quarantine sites inside existing shelters25. The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at Efforts undertaken in recent years by many MENA countries have allowed an increased number of disadvantaged women in the region to benefit from some form of social safety net. A detailed list of the resource persons who provided valuable insights for this brief can be found in the Acknowledgements section below. If female politicians have no autonomy or room to maneuver there will, most likely, be no signs of improvements.”, Lena Wängnerud, Professor in Representive Democracy, Parliamentary Studies, Gender Studies, University of Gothenburg, “Challenging our changing European landscape from a gender perspective, is key to making a better Europe possible. These efforts could pave the way for the systematic adoption of gender mainstreaming in social and economic policies across the region in the long-term. Moreover, despite some promising initiatives to facilitate rural women’s social protection coverage (OECD, forthcoming[35]), rural women generally lack access to social protection and have very limited access to quality healthcare facilities, making them particularly vulnerable in the context of COVID-19. [15] ILO (2019), ILO modelled estimates, Population and labour force, Recent research shows that a government is of a higher quality when more women are involved and that extra funds, invested wisely, can boost lower income regions to achieve higher levels of female performance. This brief covers all MENA-OECD Initiative countries with the exception of Djibouti and Mauritania. In Jordan and Lebanon, for instance, when initial government measures were announced to close schools and restrict movements in both public and private sectors, employers sent home women employees first to complete their domestic care duties (UN Women, 2020[24]). This paper examines the influence of gender and region on demographic profiles, visitor satisfaction and purchasing behaviour and finds that, while there are a number of important gender and region-specific influences, not all are as might be expected. UNFPA has also stepped up efforts to sustain sexual and reproductive health services in conflict-affected areas (UNFPA, 2020[58]). The Nordic countries have worked together for over four decades to improve gender equality in all aspects of society. In times of conflict, gender equality goals quickly disappear from the agenda. In particular, the pandemic has prompted business associations in MENA countries to partner with local and international development stakeholders to reach the most vulnerable populations. UAE recently published new rules for hiring domestic workers. It accounts for human capital (measured by earnings), as well as produced capital coming from investments in assets and natural capital such as land and natural resources. V-Dem’s exclusion by gender index produces similar findings. Domestic workers, as many vulnerable groups of women, often also lack access to relevant information on COVID-19. [62] OECD/CAWTAR (2014), Women in Public Life: Gender, Law and Policy in the Middle East and North Africa, OECD Publishing, Paris, Technology can also play a role in improving GBV survivor reporting in a period where discrete reporting has proved difficult. [60] Women in Global Health (2020), OPERATION 50/50: Women’s Perspectives Save Lives, (accessed on 23 April 2020). When it comes to gender equality, national or regional governments have no excuse for inaction. The economic impacts of the pandemic may disproportionately affect girls’ drop-out rates (UNESCO, 2020[5]). [20] Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (2020). The vast majority of these domestic workers are informally employed, and over 60% of them are female (ILO, 2015[36]). The Egyptian government has implemented measures prioritising maternal needs of women, particularly pregnant women and mothers of children with disabilities. This initiative has been further supported by a joint initiative of the Central Bank of Egypt and the Union of Banks to mobilise EGP 530 million (USD 33.7 million) as part of banks’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) budgets to fund these monthly allowances. While employers are allowed to end employees’ contracts during the crisis, they are subject to a number of obligations including respecting the mandatory notice period, paying all their dues, as well as continuing to provide housing and/or food and/or cash allowances to employees under the terms set by the employment contract and covering the costs of migrant employees’ return to their country. The MENA region has the second largest gender gap in unpaid care and domestic work worldwide. Beyond public policy measures, several initiatives have been initiated by the private sector, civil society organisations and women’s organisations to support vulnerable populations, including women, to cope with the consequences of the crisis. It is also facilitating meetings between the government and businesswomen’s associations to ensure better inclusion of women entrepreneurs’ needs in the crisis response. In the Palestinian Authority, the Ministry of Social Development and the private sector launched an ILS 17 million (USD 4.85 million) national Fund, Waqfet Izz, to provide financial assistance to support the most vulnerable families, including refugees and workers affected by the pandemic. A survey of midwives in Tunisia revealed that approximately 50% of sexual and reproductive health services had reduced or suspended their operations since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis (UN Women, 2020[59]). This opinion is not only shared by men (90% in Egypt and 60% in Morocco), but also by women (70% in Egypt and 46% in Morocco). Conversely, traditional gender roles create expectations that, in times of crises, women prioritise their family responsibilities. The first programme covers 50% of the salaries of workers in firms registered under the SSC, up to JOD 500 (USD 705). Due to regional-specific structural barriers related to unequal economic opportunities, coupled with prevalent gender biases, women’s jobs, businesses and incomes are likely to be more exposed than men’s to the economic fallout from the crisis. To do so: In the short-term, it is critical to pursue gender mainstreaming efforts during the design and implementation of emergency measures and service delivery. In this context, the shift to remote learning during the COVID-19 crisis may exacerbate learning inequalities if targeted efforts are not made to ensure that girls fully benefit from online learning tools. According to a recent survey in the Palestinian Authority9, 27% female Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) owners had to shut down their business as a result of the outbreak (UN Women, 2020[29]). The report measures four dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment. have been launched in several countries. This section aims at analysing how the implementation of these general measures may impact women across the region. [23] OECD (2017), Women’s Economic Empowerment in Selected MENA Countries: The Impact of Legal Frameworks in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia,, OECD Publishing, Paris, In Egypt, the government has increased monthly payments to women community leaders in rural areas from EGP 300 (USD 22) to EGP 900 (USD 57). Demands include providing workers with adequate protective equipment and ensuring that they continue receiving a minimum wage and have equal access to testing and medical assistance. Support to women entrepreneurs is being delivered in MENA countries in several ways by governments with the support of international organisations. 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