Women in the Middle East and North Africa (MNA) comprise a large untapped economic resource. Indeed, a 2003 World Bank Report1 concludes that had MNA countries utilized their female labor force potential as other regions did, per capita income would have grown by an additional 0.7 percent during the 1990s. This would also have translated into a 20-25 percent increase in net family income had women worked outside the home. But the reality is starkly different; gender unemployment gaps in the region are the highest in the world with the female unemployment rate being six percentage points higher than the male rate (2003
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