Middle East Project Essay

Submitted By cmurray0807
Words: 1577
Pages: 7

This Woman’s Work
MGT 150: Middle East Current Event Project

Cultural differences test societies’ perspective of the female’s advantage.

2013
3/27/2013
This Woman’s Work
MGT 150: Middle East Current Event Project

Cultural differences test societies’ perspective of the female’s advantage.

2013
3/27/2013

Statistics show that Middle Eastern women outnumber men enrolled in university; however more Middle Eastern men participate in the labor market than woman. “In Lebanon, for example, women make up 54% of university students, but only 26% of the labor force and 8% of legislators, senior officials and managers, according to the United Nations Statistics Division. Qatar has the region's second highest percentage of women in higher education -- 63% of the university population, and 93% literacy among women. However, women make up just 12% of the labor force and only 7% of legislators, senior officials and managers, the same statistics show. In Europe and the United States, women also make up the majority of university graduates -- 60% according to the European Union and U.S. Department of Education. However, women made up 40.5% of the global labor force in 2008, according to International Labor Organization statistics.” (Davies) The numbers speak for themselves in regards to the percentage of men versus women in the Middle Eastern workplace; but the reasons behind these numbers are unclear and opinions widely vary. One theory suggests the reason for the gap lies in the cultural differences of the East and West. Nawar Al-Hassan Golley, Associate Professor in Literary Theory and Women's Studies at the American University of Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, said, “Both the high percentage of women in university and their absence from the workforce can be explained in the social upbringing of girls.” (Davies) While gender equality in the United States has progressed exponentially in the last few decades, Middle Eastern society has progressed at a slower pace. Males are encouraged to utilize the freedoms they are given to explore their world outside the home; while females’ main source of socialization is based at school. Golley also stated, “Boys have more freedoms outside of school and see school as somewhere with unnecessary discipline. This may make boys more likely to drop out of school than girls." (Davies) Girls are brought up to be wives and mothers; therefore tending to marry right after university graduation. Many even believe they go to a university to find a mate. Women then focus on the more traditional role of what a woman is thought to be, instead of focusing on their careers. Men are brought up to be providers; and therefore may feel the pressure to drop out of higher education and pursue careers in the military or police forces. These careers offer enough financial stability to raise a family, without the time and work required for a university degree; thus allowing men to enter the work force more quickly and readily. Another theory places less focus on gender roles and what society believes women should do, and places the blame on pay differences and variations in economic structures between the Nations. Katelyn Fosset of the IPS News Agency said, “The structure of oil-dominated economies could also be to blame for squeezing job markets typically dominated by women. Low-wage, export-oriented industries such as textiles are one typical way through which women have entered the workforce in developing countries. But during oil booms, academics have found that economies tend to shift away from female-heavy “traded” sectors and instead towards male-dominated non-traded sectors, such as construction and retail.” (Fossett) With the entire world relying heavily on oil, it is entirely possible that women have been forced to leave the workforce in exchange for staying home due to the low number of “high-enough” paying jobs. In talking about which sex a family chooses to send…