Publication: Evidence to Inform Policy: What Works to Close the Gender Gaps in Middle East and North Africa

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Crepon, Bruno
Krafft, Caroline
Caria, Stefano
Nagy , Abdelrahman
Fadl, Noha
The traditional unequal division of household chores and caregiving hinder women from entering the labor market. Women in Egypt spend 9.5 hours more on unpaid household chores for every hour spent by men. Forty percent of women reported spending more time on household chores during the COVID–19 pandemic. Lack of access to affordable childcare is a constraint on the female labor supply in Egypt. Almost 96 percent of women in the pilot study expressed interest in childcare centers, but high costs are a concern. Weak demand for female workers, especially in the STEM fields, limits women’s job opportunities. About 60 percent of employers reported that they prefer to hire men due to women’s household responsibilities. About 87 percent of respondents noted approval with women working. However, the support declined steadily as additional information about the nature of the job or working hours was specified. One-third of women said that their husbands would not allow them to work outside of the house, and none of the men agreed with women working in a mixed-gendered environment, highlighting restrictive gender norms’ impact on female labor supply. These findings underscore the importance of our two randomized interventions designed to provide low-cost childcare services and signal firms to hire women through our employment services.
Mottaghi, Lili; Crepon, Bruno; Krafft, Caroline; Caria, Stefano; Nagy , Abdelrahman; Fadl, Noha. 2021. Evidence to Inform Policy : What Works to Close the Gender Gaps in Middle East and North Africa. Research and Policy Brief;. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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