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Gender and Development in the Middle East and North Africa
World Bank
Price: $ 25

Decades of investment and improved policies have greatly increased women's education and health and have reduced their fertility rate. However, the expected payoffs in higher employment and economic growth have not materialized. Because of cultural and political barriers, only a third of women are in the labor force-the lowest rate in the world. Future economic growth must rely on human resources rather than on the natural resources relied on in the past. Women remain a huge, untapped reservoir of human potential. Gender issues have been seen as a peripheral concern that resided mainly within the realm of the social sectors. Yet gender is ultimately also an economic issue.

Gender and Development in the Middle East and North Africa recognizes the complexity of gender issues, explores the causes of gender inequality, and proposes an agenda for change. Also included is a CD-ROM containing household survey data and a statistical appendix.

"Gender inequality has a negative impact not only on women but also on society as a whole. It restricts the ability of a country to efficiently allocate and use its most valuable resource¿its human capital. Restricting the participation of women in public and economic life limits economic development and national potential. Empowering women and providing opportunities for their full integration into all aspects of society is not just an issue of justice for women¿it is a vital factor in creating a climate favorable to achieving sustainable progress and development....Empowerment of women...means stronger families and a richer sense of national community and pride....Encouraging and empowering women to take their place as an integral part of regional growth and progress is the wisest and most effective means of closing the development gap."

Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan
President of the Arab Women's Summit

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