Women's Education in the Middle essay

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Three appendices provide information on workshop participants and strategies to improve educational opportunities for girls. (Rihani and Prather, 2003)

The work entitled: "Gender and Development in the Middle East and North Africa: women and the Public Sphere" states that gender inequality is the "...differential access to opportunity and security for women and girls" and that this has become an issue that is "important and visible...for the economies of the Middle East and North Africa."

While most countries in this region of the world have contributed resources that are significant in nature to the education of women and "with impressive results" and since MENA governments have spent approximately 5.3% of the GDP on education the result is a change in the "supply, quality and profile of the labor force." (Institut Europeen de Recherche sur la Cooperation Mediterraneene et Euro-Arabe, 2008) Women's entry into the labor force has been slowed due to the fact that countries that are "labor-abundant' and 'resource-rich' have female labor force participation that is somewhat lower than the labor-abundant, resource-poor economies with the exception being the West Bank and Gaza.

The women in MENA countries and their gender roles and dynamics of the household are "shaped by a traditional gender paradigm inclusive of four elements: (1) the central role of the family rather than the individual as society's primary unit and in which both sexes complementarily serve in nonequal roles; (2) the man is recognized as the sole breadwinner for the family; (3) a code of modesty exists that is based upon the honor and dignity of the family and which is a direct reflection of the woman in the family; and (4) balance of power is unequal in the private realm that is inextricably linked to family laws. (Institut Europeen de Recherche sur la Cooperation Mediterraneene et Euro-Arabe, 2008) This work states that a policy framework for gender policy that is comprehensive is represented by the following illustration which is a new development model.

New Development Model

Source: Institut Europeen de Recherche sur la Cooperation Mediterraneene et Euro-Arabe (2008)

This report states that there are four policy areas by which to address disparities of the genders and which include: (1) a review of the environment of legislation in order to align legal provisions that do not give acknowledgement to equal rights under the countries' constitution; (2) an infrastructure that is supportive and facilitative of participation of own in the public sphere; (3) focus on education specifically in areas that make the provision of better market skills to women; and (4) labor law reform and regulations and realignment of these with the new development model in the region as well as great dependence on the creation of jobs in the private sector. (Institut Europeen de Recherche sur la Cooperation Mediterraneene et Euro-Arabe, 2008)


It is clear that women in the Middle East face many cultural barriers in assessing educational provisions and it is just as clear that specific strategies are needed for ensuring the provision of education to females in the Middle East. This will require addressing various areas of the life and reality of these women if they are to gain ground in their own culture and society and if educational attainment is to someday be viewed as necessary and the 'norm' within the cultures and societies of the Middle East in regards to females receiving educational instruction in order to prepare them for a productive place in society.


El-Sanabary, Nagat (1989) Determinants of Women's Education in the Middle East and North Africa: Illustrations from Seven Countries. PHREE Background Paper Series the World Bank, Education and Employment Division, Population and Human Resources Department, 1818 H. Street, N.W., Washington, DC 204.

Education in the Middle East (2005) Voice of America - News Report. Published online 4 June 2005. Available at http://www.voanews.com/uspolicy/archive/2005-06/2005-06-06-voa1.cfm

Roudi-Fahimi, F. And Moghadam, V.M. (2003) Empowering Women, Developing Society: Female Education in the Middle East and North Africa. Population Reference Bureau. Nov. 2003. Online available at http://www.prb.org/Publications/PolicyBriefs/EmpoweringWomenDevelopingSocietyFemaleEducationintheMiddleEastandNorthAfrica.aspx

Empowering Women, Developing Society: Female Education in the Middle East and North Africa: Summary (2006) Early Childhood Development. Online available at http://www.comminit.com/en/node/219484

Basarudin, a. And Shaikh, K. (2003) Voices of Resistance: Women Speak Out. Middle East Women's Studies Review, Vol. Xviii, Nos. 3 & 4, Fall 2003/Spring 2004, pp. 1-3, 15.

Roudi-Fahimi, F. And Moghadam. V.M. (2003) Empowering Women, Developing Society: Female Education in the Middle East and North Africa - Population Reference Bureau. Online available at http://www.prb.org/Publications/PolicyBriefs/EmpoweringWomenDevelopingSocietyFemaleEducationintheMiddleEastandNorthAfrica.aspx

Rihani, M. And Prather, C.J. (2003) Strategies for Female Education in the Middle East and North Africa. Learning for the 21st…[continue]

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