Factors Determining Female Labor Participation in Job Market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Countries


Almiman Anas Abdulrahman(1*), Pradikta Aris Chandra(2), Altamimi Raeef(3)

(1) Graduate School of International Relations, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan
(2) Graduate School of International Relations, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan
(3) Graduate School of Inter-Religious Studies, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
(*) Corresponding Author


Women’s engagement in the broader social life is part of policy objectives in today’s world that most governments aim to achieve. Likewise, the issue is crucial in most Muslim majority countries, especially in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). As the regions have characteristics of a smaller number of women’s participation in the formal labor market than many other countries, this study investigated the factors that determine women’s participation by measuring data of governance, industrial transformations, and education from 1980 to 2014. This study used robust panel data methods to calculate the interdependencies of those variables. Based on the estimation, prominent factors that have positive correlations with the participation are good governance and the transitions from agriculture to industrial and service economy. Meanwhile, financial literacy and education have limited impacts on participation.


labor economics; women’s participation; MENA countries; job market

Full Text:



AlMunajjed, M. (2010). Women’s employment in Saudi Arabia: A major challenge. New York City: Booz & Company.

Abramo, L., & Valenzuela, M. E. (2005). Women’s labour force participation rates in Latin America. International Labour Review, 144(4), 369–399.

Altuzarra, A., Gálvez-Gálvez, C., & González- Flores, A. (2019). Economic development and female labour force participation: The case of European Union countries. Sustainability (Switzerland), 11(7). https:// doi.org/10.3390/su11071962.

Apps, P., & Rees, R. (2001). Fertility, female labor supply, and family policy. In IZA Discussion Papers (No. 409). https://doi. org/10.1111/j.1468-0475.2012.00568.x.

Assaad, R., Hendy, R., Lassasi, M., & Yassin, S. (2018). Explaining the MENA Paradox: Rising Educational Attainment, Yet Stagnant Female Labor Force Participation. IZA Discussion Paper Series, (11385).

Bastian, B. L., Sidani, Y. M., & El Amine, Y. (2018). Women entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa: A review of knowledge areas and research gaps. Gender in Management, 33(1), 14–29. https://doi.org/10.1108/GM-07-2016-0141.

Demetriades, P., & Law, S. H. (2006). Finance, institutions and economic development. International Journal of Finance and Economics, 11(3), 245–260. https://doi. org/10.1002/ijfe.296.

Demirgüç-Kunt, A., & Maksimovic, V. (1998). Law, Finance, and Firm Growth. The Journal of Finance, LIII(6), 2107–2137.

Elson, D. (1999). Labor Markets as Gendered Institutions: Equality, E?ciency and Empowerment Issues. World Development, 27(3), 611–627. https:// doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/S0305- 750X(98)00147-8.

Engelhardt, H., & Prskawetz, A. (2004). On the changing correlation between fertility and female employment over space and time. European Journal of Population, 20(1), 35–62. https://doi.org/10.1023/ B:EUJP.0000014543.95571.3b.

Gauthier, A. H., Emery, T., & Bartova, A. (2016). The labour market intentions and behaviour of stay-at-home mothers in Western and Eastern Europe. Advances

in Life Course Research, 30, 1–15. https://


Haas, B., Steiber, N., Hartel, M., & Wallace, C. (2006). Household employment patterns in an enlarged European Union. Work, Employment and Society, 20(4), 751–771. https://doi.


Haghighat, E. (2002). Culture, development and female labor force participation: disaggregating different sectors. International Review of Sociology, 12(3), 343–362. https://doi.org/10.1080/0390670

Hayo, B., & Caris, T. (2013). Female Labour

Force Participation in the MENA Region: The Role of Identity. Review of Middle East Economics and Finance, 9(3), 271–292. https://doi.org/10.1515/rmeef-2013-0021.

Jensen, P. H. (2017). Cause and effects of female labour force participation in local welfare systems. European Societies, 19(2), 121–137. https://doi.org/10.1080/14 616696.2016.1268706.

Johansen, S. (1995). A Statistical Analysis of Cointegration for I ( 2 ) Variables. Econometric Theory, 11(1), 25–59. Retrieved from http:// www.jstor.org/stable/3532929.

King, R. G., & Levine, R. (1993). Finance and Growth: Schumpeter Might Be Right. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 108(3), 717–737. https://doi.org/10.2307/2118406.

Kucera, D., & Tejani, S. (2014). Feminization, defeminization, and structural change in manufacturing. World Development, 64, 569–582. https://doi.org/10.1016/j. worlddev.2014.06.033.

Loayza, N., & Ranciere, R. (2005). Financial Development, Financial Fragility, and Growth. IMF Working Papers, 05(170), 1. https://doi. org/10.5089/9781451861891.001.

Maddala, G. S., & Wu, S. (1999). A Comparative Study of Unit Root Tests with Panel Data and a New Simple Test. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 61(s1), 631– 652. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0084.61. s1.13.

Moghadam, V. M. (2005). Women’s Economic Participation in the Middle East: What Difference Has The Neoliberal Policy Turn Made? Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, 1(1), 110–146. https://doi. org/10.2979/mew.2005.1.1.110

Pampel, F. C., & Tanaka, K. (1986). Economic Development and Female Labor Force Participation: A Reconsideration. Social Forces, 64(3), 599. https://doi. org/10.2307/2578815.

Pesaran, M. H., Pesaran, M. H., Shin, Y., & Smith, R. P. (1999). Pooled Mean Group Estimation of Dynamic Heterogeneous Panels. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 94(446), 621–634. https://doi. org/10.1080/01621459.1999.10474156.

Pesaran, M. H., & Smith, R. (1995). Estimating long-run relationships from dynamic heterogeneous panels. In Journal of Econometrics (Vol. 68). https://doi. org/10.1016/0304-4076(94)01644-F.

Phillips, P. C. B., & Hansen, B. E. (1990). Statistical Inference in Instrumental Variables Regression with I(1) Processes. The Review of Economic Studies, 57(1), 99. https://doi.org/10.2307/2297545.

Rendall, M. (2012). Rise of the Service Sector and Female Market Work: Europe vs US. Society for Economic Dynamics, pp. 1–30. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1635785.

Robinson, J. (2015). Female Labor Force Participation in the Middle East and North Africa Female Labor Force Participation in the Middle. Wharton Research Scholars, 28. Retrieved from http://repository.upenn. edu/wharton_research_scholars/28.

Schilirò, D. (2013). Diversification and development of the UAE ’ s economy. Retrieved from https://mpra.ub.uni- muenchen.de/84584/.

Welsh, D. H. B., Memili, E., Kaciak, E., & Al Sadoon, A. (2014). Saudi women entrepreneurs: A growing economic segment. Journal of Business Research, 67(5), 758–762. https://doi.org/10.1017/ CBO9781107415324.004.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22146/jp.59619

Article Metrics

Abstract views : 1669 | views : 1333


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Populasi

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Copyright of Jurnal Populasi ISSN 0853-6202 (PRINT), ISSN: 2476-941X (ONLINE).

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Populasi Indexed by:


analytics View My Stats