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Identifying opportunities to improve the lived experience and health of working women in the MENA: from COVID-19 to recovery


The COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to control it have threatened livelihoods, introduced new workplace risks and made unstable work relationships even more precarious, especially for women. This project will examine how to attract women to the workforce, protect their health, and prevent female labour market attrition during shocks in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

By analyzing existing surveys with a specific focus on eleven low- and middle-income countries (Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, West Bank and the Gaza Strip and Yemen), policy analysis and updated regional literature reviews, the research team will examine changes in female labour force participation and impacts on health and well-being, before, during and after COVID-19. Using Lebanon as a case example, data will examine the education, health and early childhood development sectors where women predominate. The findings will be compared with the results of men to determine what types of gender inequalities exist in the workplace. They will also include the experiences of women who lost their employment and explore barriers and facilitators to retention. This pioneering study will provide data and analysis to guide efforts by government and its partners to promote and sustain women’s labour force participation and protect women’s health.

This project is funded under Women’s health and economic empowerment for a COVID-19 Recovery that is Inclusive, Sustainable and Equitable (Women RISE), an initiative of IDRC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Its aim is to support global action-oriented, gender-transformative research by teams of researchers from low- and middle-income countries and Canada.

Project ID
Project Status
24 months
IDRC Officer
Montasser Kamal
Total Funding
CA$ 999,480.00
Middle East
Institution Country
Project Leader
Jocelyn DeJong
American University of Beirut
Institution Country
Simon Fraser University