Women threaten men's monopoly on top jobs in ME
Omani women have made great strides in the society, according to a new report by MasterCard on women’s empowerment, which measures female education opportunities, business ownership and workforce participation.
MasterCard’s latest Index of Women’s Advancement for the Middle East and Levant report, which measures the socioeconomic level of women in relation to men, has revealed an increasing recognition for women’s empowerment in the recent years, signalling significant strides made by women in the society.
Frontrunners among the Middle East and Levant markets were Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates with overall scores of 69.0 and 67.5, respectively. Following close behind are Qatar (67.1), Kuwait (63.5) and Oman (63.4), while Lebanon (51.8), Egypt (49.8) and Saudi Arabia (36.9) complete the list. All of the eight markets have remained consistent or seen increases in their overall Index scores for at least the last three years.
Of the Middle East and Levant markets, Egypt, Oman, the UAE and Qatar have seen increasing scores for the last three years. “Women’s socio-economic advancement starts at the basic level — from fostering confidence in girls through education, to giving women the opportunities for skills development and regular employment. The results of the latest MasterCard Index show that even in challenging times, societies are taking these issues seriously,” Georgette Tan, group head, communications, Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa, said. Enrollment rates for women in tertiary institutions surpass men for most Middle East and Levant markets.
In seven of the eight markets surveyed in the Middle East and Levant, women are on par or better represented in tertiary institutions than their male counterparts. This is the case in Qatar (558.7), Bahrain (273.1), Kuwait (243.1), the UAE (181.6), Oman (156.8), Lebanon (119.6) and Saudi Arabia (109.5).
The Index comprises five indicators — business ownership, business and government leadership, workforce participation, regular employment opportunities, and tertiary education. Each indicator measures the ratio of women to every 100 men in each of the markets covered by the research.
Scores are indexed to 100 to indicate how close or how far women in each market are to achieving socio-economic parity with men. A score under 100 indicates gender inequality in favour of males while a score above 100 indicates inequality in favour of females. A score of 100 indicates equality between the sexes.
In terms of regular employment, most markets included in the research offered equal opportunity for both men and women. Lebanon, Oman, Bahrain, the UAE and Qatar reflected parity scores above 100, and women in Kuwait (99.3) and Egypt (80.1) were also found to have strong employment opportunities as compared to males.
Women business/government leaders are also fairly well represented in the UAE (84.1), Oman (80.7) and Qatar (63.9). However, female business owners in the Middle East and Levant still require greater economic and social empowerment. All markets in the region included in the research had fewer than 50 female business owners for every 100 male business owners. Oman (38.9) scored the highest in this category, while Kuwait (22.9), Egypt (20.8) and Lebanon (14.4) had less women for every 100 men owning businesses in their country.