Center for Inclusive Business and Leadership for Women Research


Women in the MENA region are drastically underrepresented in the workplaces of the MENA region. Evidenced by the lowest female labor force participation rate in the world, many parts of the region have widespread exclusionary structural barriers precluding women's access to work and /or limiting women's experiences of dignified careers and of leadership roles. This low rate of participation, costs the region. The MENA region loses more business potential due to low female economic participation than any other region of the world. Currently the share of the region's GDP output generated by women is only 18%, compared to 40%+ in North America, China, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Efforts to narrow the economic gender gap can drastically increase regional GDP of both the resource poor and resource rich countries in the MENA. The ILO estimates that if we narrow the gender gap by just 25% - toward gender parity - then global GDP would increase by $55.3 trillion by 2025. However, progress is slow, with the World Bank estimating that at the current rate of progress, the MENA will reach gender parity in 157 years. More concerted efforts are needed to meet the challenges ahead and to support employers to build more strategic, dignified, and inclusive business systems and workplaces.

CIBL.W is an interdisciplinary regional reference point focused on readying gender-inclusive businesses and other employers across the region. We are committed to improving and supporting women's dignified work, successful careers and leadership roles in organizations across the region.

What we do


  • Barriers and facilitators to gender-inclusive workplaces
  • Business case for gender-inclusive workplaces

In practice

  • Capacity building through executive education & regional external programs
  • Developing leaders 
  • Equipping HR managers and other decision makers
  • Gender sensitive training
  • Coaching and mentoring platforms
  • Behavioral change​

Change mobilization through building partnerships & momentum 

  • Conferences
  • Social media outreach
  • Award ceremonies
  • Multisector partners
  • Networking
  • Perceptual change

Organizational policies and systems

  • Through recommending white papers, gender mainstreaming strategies & processes 
  • Change curriculum
  • Training objectives
  • Gender auditing toolkits
  • Advocacy manuals
  • Systemic change

Who we work with

  • ​Business partners in every MENA country
  • Employers across sectors and industries
  • Policy-makers
  • Gender ministries and women’s machineries
  • Think tanks
  • Civil society and business associations
  • Media
  • Donor community