Despite progress in recent years, women still don’t enjoy the same economic opportunities as men in the Middle East and North Africa. Just one-fifth of women work outside the home, female entrepreneurs struggle to secure loans for their businesses, and workplace discrimination remains common.
On an economic level, that represents a tremendous missed opportunity for the region. In MENA, if women worked at the same rate as men, GDP would by 50 percent, or $2.7 trillion, through 2025. Global experience has shown that women have the potential drive economic growth and spur job creation, whether they’re opening small businesses or running corporations. Gender equality is smart economics, contributing to poverty reduction, strengthening resilience, and boosting shared prosperity.
IFC works with partners in the private sector to create economic opportunities for women across MENA. Through a combination of investments and advisory services, we channel small business loans to female entrepreneurs, we help women access more and better jobs, we encourage companies to appoint women to their corporate boards, and we help expand access to vital financial services, like bank accounts.