American University of Beirut

The SAWI Project

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​WHY SAWI?​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Women in the region face structural barriers at the workplace. These barriers manifest in the weak policies for women's recruitment, retention, and promotion. Women get turned down from positions they aspire for or may not even apply at all to jobs in male dominated professions. Working women also tend to hold on to their jobs but retention is not equated with workplace wellbeing and work-life balance. Women also are barely represented in senior and decision-making positions. We know these facts and we measured them in the KIP Indexusing surveys from employers, we also captured women's voices and perceptions in the Lived Experience Index.

Women should not bear the burdens on their own. Employers and Human Resource managers can play a role in facilitating women's access to jobs they deserve, improve workplace wellbeing, and increase women's rates of promotion to top positions.   

SAWI Project, which stands for “Support and Accelerate Women's Inclusion", has established a transnational network of employers to develop, improve, and implement inclusive policies and practices for better recruitment, retention, and promotion of women. Together with our partners, we ​​work towards national action plans for the dignified and sustainable inclusion of women in formal economies across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

SAWI is operating in Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia. Against all odds, our network of trailblazing employers are championing inclusive policies.

Women's dignified careers and workplace wellbeing is important for economic growth, social development, and women's lives. Join us, in refusing to sit and wait, our multi-stakeholder partnerships and evidence-based approaches can successfully accelerate women's inclusion. 




SAWI began as a pilot project at the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB) focused on tackling the human resource management and other structural obstacles for women’s economic inclusion in the region. In partnership with Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, this new phase will expand the transnational mobilizing efforts for women’s dignified economic participation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, cement partnerships, and continue to build a wider network of researchers, practitioners, and economic stakeholders. What to expec​t moving forward?


#InspireInclusion International Women's Day
At SAWI, we champion inclusion to foster MENA workplaces that value and practice Equal Employment Opportunity. 

​​​​#GBVFreeWorkplace 16 Days of Activism Employers have the responsibility to create GBV-free work environments through clear reporting mechanism and effective policies.
#WorkplaceWellbeing World Mental Health DayEmployers play a pivotal role in creating a positive atmosphere for employees, through the implementation of th​e right policies.
#BreakingBarriers World Breastfeeding Week

Because no mom should choose between family and career, "Breastfeeding Breaks" is one of our ​innovative workplace ret​ention policies​.

Expl​or​e our previous social media campaigns here.​​


The SAWI project was made possible through generous funding of the US State Department and the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).​


Our milestones have been made possible thanks to the partners we have worked with in eight countries (Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia)These partnerships are critical to the building and delivery of an inclusive culture in the region.


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