COVID-19 in MENA: Impact on women's economic empowerment and policy responses


infographic women workers webinar announcement

The COVID-19 pandemic is triggering an unprecedented labour market, social and economic crisis, posing a serious threat to women’s employment and livelihoods. In the Middle East and North Africa, the crisis has underscored the multiple and intersecting challenges faced by women and girls due to restrictive social norms and a number of discriminatory legal frameworks. Yet, the current crisis also represents an opportunity to rethink women’s role in the society and economy. The extent to which this is possible will depend on governments’ ability to leverage current efforts to integrate gender considerations in the crisis response in order to empower women as key actors for the recovery and beyond.


To address these questions, the OECD, UNDP and UN Women organised a joint webinar to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on women in public and private sectors in the MENA region and look at how different countries have taken into account the gender equality perspective in their crisis response and economic recovery plans. The event was moderated by Dr. Mary Kawar, former Minister for Planning and International Cooperation of Jordan.  Keynote speeches were be delivered by H.E. Asma Shiri Laabidi, Tunisian Minister of Women, Family, Children and Seniors and on behalf of Dr. Maya Morsi, President of the Egyptian National Council for Women.


The webinar was jointly organised by the MENA-OECD Competitiveness ProgrammeUNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States and UN Women Regional Office for Arab States. It also builds on the findings of the OECD’s recent note on ‘The Covid-19 crisis in MENA: impact on gender equality and policy responses’ (also available in Arabic).



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