Economic Effects of Women?s Workforce Participation: Policy Drivers and Myths

Client: World Bank
Faculty: Paul Smoke and David Winder
Team: Kate Amanna, Sokhna Gueye, Gilda Galiano, Shiloh Harrison, Janice Formichella, Michelle Murray
Year: 2009
When exploring women's workforce participation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), questions of culture and religion often surface. These issues frequently become roadblocks in debating impacts of female labor force participation and methods of eliminating negative externalities while maximizing positive effects. In order to eliminate these barriers and enable discussion of real solutions for women's employment in MENA countries, the World Bank requested a Capstone team to evaluate policies and solutions that facilitate growth of the female labor force and are applicable to MENA countries. The purpose of the team's research was to explore the policies that countries outside of MENA have implemented to increase female workforce participation. The research examines transitional periods of women's workforce participation in the United States, Sweden, and Malaysia and the impact this increased participation had on GDP growth. Recommendations to MENA countries are based on this research and analysis.