The Role of Women in the GCC Countries Name: Institution: The Role of Women in the GCC Countries The Gulf Cooperation Council was founded in 1981 with the objective of promoting political, economic and social relationships between the six member states comprising the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait…
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However, with a globalizing economy, the impact of the GCC cannot be overlooked, since it is also a global power in the oil industry. Further, in a bid to diversify their trade platforms, the countries are individually venturing into other economic activities (Almunajjed, 2011). For example, Saudi Arabia is amomg the world leaders in the production of dates and has lately grown its steel and fertilizer manufacturing industries. Bahrain is investing heavily in the Information and Communication Technology field while Kuwait manufactures building materials and Qatar has greatly expanded its banking sector to become a key economic player in the country (CAWTAR, 2006). With such economic growth, and branching out from the core oil business, opportunities have opened up for women to be included in forefront roles of decision-making and enhancing regional development, increasing their presence in the private sector (Almunajjed, 2011). However, they are still faced by the barriers imposed by Islamic conservatism in the region, making their role in the GCC countries ambiguous and on different levels in different countries. This paper will use statistics, surveys and researches to discuss the role of women in the GCC countries, with a focus on the positive impact they have had on the region as well as the difficulties they face in their role as agents of change. Because the role of women has taken considerably long to be felt due to constraints of cultural backgrounds, the best way to discuss it would be alongside their achievements over the years, which relate to what their contributions have been. Globalization is by far the single most significant external factor that has contributed towards the rising of the status of women in the GCC countries (Abdulkhaleq, 2006). It has led to empowerment of women in the member states by granting them access to economic, social and political matters. The level of education, as well as rates of seeking to acquire education, has significantly increased among women in the countries, facilitating their access to positions of leadership (Doumato & Marsha, 2005). In some of the member countries, women are actively participating in roles of political decision making; working in institutions of education as university deans, professors and educators; working in scientific institutions as researchers; and medical, banking and business professionals. It is through the initiative of established women leaders that the region’s governments invested in education. This facilitated the enrolment of young girls into primary education, which enabled the GCC to progress towards the millennium development goals of the United Nations in primary education (UNDP, 2005). After being allowed access to higher education, most of them have taken advantage of the Gulf’s globalizing economies and started their own businesses, expanding their activities in entrepreneurship. Their achievements are imparting positive influences on the region, moving them out of homes and traditional, cultural confinements. Using education as their most powerful tool, women in the GCC have influenced and realized changes in the labor market, providing one of the most accurate measures of the region’s progress (Nayereh, 2007). An analysis of a 2010 report by a United Nations
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rding to Looney (2003), defense of the region was the original objective of the GCC, as it was formed in response to the instability of the region that was the result of the Iran-Iraq war.4 Therefore, according to Looney, the first concern of the GCC was security, while economics was secondary.
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The paper evaluates the early Islamic scriptures to gain an insight into the Muslim women’s role and also reviews historical data to understand their role in the 19th and 20th century. The paper then reviews the historical and current situation on the working women in gulf, especially women in Qatar.
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Ordinary least square (OLS) with fixed effects panel models are employed. The analysis is done using two measures of performance including return on assets (ROA) and Tobin’s Q. The impact of firm specific variables such
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