Fostering Women's Economic Empowerment


Women in MENA economies are potential drivers of growth, competitiveness and social development in the region. Despite impressive progress in education over the past decades, women’s labour force participation in the region remains among the lowest in the world at 24%, compared to 62% in OECD economies.

Gender equality is crucial to private sector development, job creation and economic growth. Accordingly, the MENA-OECD Investment Programme has launched two initiatives to develop innovative ways of supporting the integration of women in MENA economies.

OECD-MENA Women's Business Forum

The OECD-MENA Women’s Business Forum (WBF) is an inter-regional network of over 500 representatives from MENA and OECD governments, the private sector and civil society, which promotes efforts to accelerate women's entrepreneurship development in the MENA region.

The WBF works with governments to improve policies and legislation to enhance women's economic integration. Through this dialogue, which also includes business groups and academia, the Forum facilitates an exchange of experiences and good practices to provide concrete support to women entrepreneurs.


>> Read the outcomes of the last WBF meeting held on 6 June 2014, Paris                                                                                                                  

Project on Supporting Women as Economic Actors during the Transition Period

In light of the on-going social, political and economic changes taking place in the MENA region, the MENA‑OECD Investment Programme launched a project focused on Supporting Women as Economic Actors during the Transition Period in six participating countries (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia). The project seeks to ensure that ongoing democratic reforms fully take into account the high development potential of a stronger involvement of women in the economy.

The project comprises two main activities:

  • Examining to what extent the legal environment promotes or hinders women's capacity to engage in economic activities, and

  • Raising awareness of the economic benefits of women as economic actors.

> > Read more about the Project and the outcomes of the Technical Meeting held on 5 June 2014, Paris





> > Access our brochure

Resources       ‌

Women in Business 2014:
Accelerating Women's
in the MENA Region

Women in Business -
Policies to Support Women's
Entrepreneurship Development
in the MENA Region
‌ / عربي

MENA Women in Business publication cover


2009 Action Plan on Fostering
Entrepreneurship and
English | français | عربي


2007 Declaration on Fostering
English | français | عربي

‌Directory of initiatives
supporting women



For further information, please
contact Mrs. Nicola Ehlermann-Cache,
Acting Head, MENA Division




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