Women's human capital and economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa

Fatemah Torabi, Mohammad Abbasi Shavazi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    The process of demographic transition has increased the share of the working-age population in Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This situation has created an opportunity for economic growth, called the demographic dividend. Global comparisons show that a favorable age structure has not always resulted in a boost in economic growth. In order to take a full advantage of the MENA's demographic dividend, it is important to identify different factors contributing to economic growth in this region. Investment in women's human capital is expected to have important implications for the region's economic growth and for maximizing the benefits created by the demographic dividend. Using a range of data sources, this paper aims to determine the association between women's human capital (measured by adult educational attainment and health status) and economic growth (measured by gross national income per capita) in MENA. The findings show a positive association between these two. Specifically, the national-level income is generally higher in countries with lower maternal mortality and higher female literacy, female tertiary education, female life and healthy life expectancies at birth and professional childbirth attendance. Thus, investment in women's human capital can accelerate the pace of development in MENA.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)237-261
    JournalJournal of International Women's Studies
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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