At the latest with the launch of the United Nations Millennium Project in 2000 most Arab countries started to adopt ambitious targets for the empowerment of women in all fields of society and as part of this the promotion of female entrepreneurship. The views on what has been achieved in this respect are however differing to a large degree. According to some observers, Arab business women did not only manage to establish themselves more profoundly as economic actors in almost all countries of the region in recent years. In addition, they seem to show an increasing desire to organize their interests and engage in networking on the local, regional as well as international level. Though others point to the fact that despite some improvements and a host of promotional campaigns women’s economic and political participation remains exceptionally low in the Arab region and in particular the Gulf countries. Moreover, there are still numerous legal, institutional and other constraints preventing Arab business women from being able to enjoy anything coming close to a ‘level-playing-field’ with their male counterparts. By attracting novel and innovative research the workshop aims to offer new insights for a better understanding of the apparently contrasting assessments in the existing literature on the role of business women in the economies and societies of the Arab world. For this purpose papers are particularly welcome which try to link the analysis of female entrepreneurship in the region with the broader debate on the private sector and its evolving role and power in the Arab countries and / or the more general topic of ‘Women and Development’ and its different theoretical concepts.
06.07.2011 - 09.07.2011