Education Attainment and Feminization of Labor Markets in Arab Countries with Comparisons to Eastern and Central European Countries

Education Attainment and Feminization of Labor Markets in Arab Countries with Comparisons to Eastern and Central European Countries

Fatima-Zohra Filali Adib (Al Akhawayn University, Morocco) and Amale Achehboune (Al Akhawayn University, Morocco)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5210-1.ch012


The feminization of labor markets through the role of education is among the means that enhance the participation of women to development and ensure further involvement of human resources in the growth and development processes. While this is a process that is highly pursued in most developed economies, it is not clearly seen to be pervasive in most developing countries. The Arab economies are among those countries where lower participation of women is observed but where education can be an important leverage for further feminization of labor markets. These issues are discussed in the present chapter to underline the role of education in Arab economies.
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1. Literature Review

It took several years of governments’ initiatives and efforts to insert girls in the modern schooling system of Arab countries. This is well expressed when analyzing Barro and Lee databases (2010) where the average years of schooling of females has been increasing over the 1950-2010 period. This trend has been concerning primary, secondary and tertiary education of females. These data show also a decreasing gender gap but this is still present even under these major changes. The tables in chapter 2 of the present book, indicating time trends for total and for females illustrate clearly the increasing pattern of schooling progress among females in Arab countries. But, the speed of change appears to be lower than the one prevailing in Eastern and Central European Economies. More efforts are consequently needed from Arab countries with series of initiatives developed to include more women in education.

The article “The Millennium Development Goals: Prospects for Gender Equality in the Arab World” by Nadine Sika (2011) provides evidence for the lower access to schooling faced by Arab girls. It states numbers for illiteracy rates of females and males in the Arab World with the tendency of higher illiteracy rate for females. The article discusses the emergence of girls’ schools with their assumed role in education. Another interesting point that this article raises is that accessing schools is harder for girls due to implicit legal and social practices. Moreover, the author provides support to the premise of women’s increasing relatively higher performance in the educational system. However, these high potential shown by females in school, do not appear to be translated significantly in more positions in the job market. These trends are clearly indicated by the existing data on unemployment by gender throughout the Arab economies as reported by International Labor Organization (ILO, 2009) and Word bank databases.

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