Employment of young women through applied Gender Diversity Management in the MENA region

Programme description

Title: Employment of young women through applied Gender Diversity Management in the MENA region
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia
Overall term: 2015 to 2022



At only one-fifth of the workforce, women’s participation in the labour market of the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) is the lowest in the world. Unemployment among young female university graduates is especially low. Women without higher education are more likely to be employed, but are usually underpaid with no social protection. Traditional views of gender roles are a barrier to gender equality in the labour market across all social strata.

The private sector is less likely to hire women, as employers fear family obligations will negatively impact job performance. Although many firms find it hard to fill vacancies, the private sector under-utilises the potential offered by female workers.


Employment opportunities for women in private-sector companies have improved in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.



The project fosters Gender Diversity Management (GDM), a human resource policy that promotes the economic integration and retention of women. There is increasing acceptance that gender diversity management, integrating women better and having more gender equality within the workforce bring companies a competitive advantage.

Measures include introducing flexible working hours, applying women’s quotas, providing career development opportunities and implementing gender policies at management level.

A project highlight is its global knowledge-sharing platform, the ‘Gender Diversity Circulator’. It enables direct exchange between MENA region companies and German and European ones.

The project works closely with business associations, which help their member firms to integrate GDM.

GDM also encourages female pupils and students to look at STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) jobs and managerial positions in cooperation with more than 100 companies.

Last update: Juli 2021


Additional information