In the Arab world, women are increasingly stepping into entrepreneurial roles, asserting their influence on business and technology, and leading a quiet revolution that would have been unthinkable a generation ago. The trend marks a departure from traditional roles and gender expectations, and it could hold profound implications for the region’s development and progression toward more inclusive societies.
While the Arab world has historically seen limited female participation in the labor market, the growing presence of women in business start-ups follows a global pattern that is accelerating innovation and diversifying prosperity. It is not an instantaneous or easy transition. Addressing barriers to equality frequently means challenging social norms and confronting entrenched interests. In the Middle East and North Africa, labor force participation for women is still a meager 19 percent compared with the global average of nearly 50 percent. But across the region, opportunities are expanding, and women—like the three we profile below—are challenging patriarchal attitudes.