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Mideast women unemployment rate soars: UN
March 09, 2018
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BEIRUT: Unemployment among women in the Middle East is twice that of men, the United Nations (UN) said, pointing to low wages, a lack of skills and a belief among some that a woman’s place is in the home.

About 16 per cent of women in Arab states are unemployed, compared to a global average of 6 per cent, the UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO) said.

“The incentive for women to work in the Middle East is not there,” said Emanuela Pozzan, a gender specialist with the ILO, pointing to poor maternity provisions and costly childcare.

“The jobs are not attractive because the salaries are not attractive,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

Getting more women into work globally was essential to achieve a global goal of gender equality by 2030, the ILO said, calling for policymakers to recognise the “unequal demands” on women at home and in caring for others.

Farah Nawayseh, 29, said she had been looking for work in her home country for nearly nine months. Traditional male views of women were a significant roadblock, she said.

“Because I am female it is harder for me to find jobs,” she said.

“It has to do with a conservative mindset that men don’t want women to work — they are for marriage and to be in the home.”

She said the monthly wage for the sales jobs she sought was about $282.

“A lot of the time when I go for jobs they are asking for males and the salaries are so low,” she said.


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