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Empowerment, Tradition, and Changing Dynamics in Arab Women's Business Roles

posted on: Sep 6, 2023

Empowerment, Tradition, and Changing Dynamics in Arab Women's Business Roles
Photo: freepik

By: Eman El-Ajlouni / Arab America Contributing Writer

With a variety of traditions and civilizations, the Arab world has long been defined by strongly rooted gender roles and societal standards. Women in this region have historically faced several obstacles while trying to pursue jobs and businesses outside of their houses. The position of Arab women in the economic sphere, however, has experienced a massive shift recently as a result of a confluence of empowerment, tradition, and shifting dynamics. Which gave women the possibility of flourishing in the labor market and ascending the career ladder smoother than before.

Empowerment Through Education

In the Arab world, education has been a major force for change and is crucial to the empowerment of women. Girls’ pursuit of higher education has historically been restricted or even prohibited in various Arab communities. However, this has steadily changed, and now Arab women are pursuing their dreams, and goals, and achieving success in a wide range of academic subjects, including business, art, and engineering. Women today have the information and skills needed to succeed in the contemporary workforce thanks to education, which has also encouraged a feeling of independence and self-confidence among them.

Traditional Standards Being Challenged

Challenges with traditional norms and stereotypes are among the most significant changes in the roles of Arab women in business. Many countries have always encouraged women to put family and housework before careers, despite the fact that the Arab world is varied and includes a wide range of cultural traditions. Women’s entry into the business world has been limited by this rooted perception. Making it a topic that was common and passed down through generations made it tough for women to reject this idea and confront society with it.

However, an increasing number of Arab women are breaking these norms. They make job decisions that are in line with their interests and skills, inspire them to work hard, and actively pursue their goals. As it frequently includes navigating family relationships and cultural expectations, this move is not without its problems and hurdles. However, these pioneering women are opening up new opportunities, serving as role models, and opening the door for future generations. There are several instances of women today who have held leadership roles in a variety of industries, excelled in them, and made themselves known on the job market. They were able to influence society’s perception of women’s roles via this, enabling them to study and participate in the labor market.

Business Development and Economic Empowerment

Arab women are becoming more successful business owners. In order to increase access to education and employment possibilities, more and more women are starting their own enterprises by utilizing their skills and sense of initiative. In addition to allowing women to pursue their passions and having a large beneficial impact on their communities, entrepreneurship also helps women to be financially independent and influences other girls in the community by presenting these women as role models.

To promote and empower Arab women entrepreneurs, cutting-edge programs and support networks have evolved. Women may overcome the difficulties they might encounter in fields with a majority of men thanks to these platforms, which offer mentorship, financing options, and a supportive network. The majority of companies in the area are still not owned by women, regardless of this development. Compared to a global average of up to 26 percent, less than 5 percent of enterprises in the MENA region are run by women.

Tradition and Modernity at a Crossroads

Arab women are well aware of the need to maintain cultural, community, and familial ties while they strive to overcome challenges in the economic sector. Many women are able to strike a balance between their desire to advance professionally and their responsibilities as spouses, mothers, and providers in order for neither to take precedence over the other. Their ability to strike this delicate balance between the demands of a rapidly changing world and cultural norms that continue to hold great meaning reflects the complexity of their experiences as well as their strength in maintaining ideas of family and community as well as in achieving their professional goals and dreams.


In conclusion, the transformation of Arab women’s positions in the workplace and market labor serves as an important example of how empowerment interacts with changing cultural dynamics and traditions. This shifting environment is a result of a variety of factors, including education, challenging established standards and traditional norms, entrepreneurship, and a dedication to traditional family and cultural values. Arab women not only make contributions to their economic benefits, but they also help to influence the cultures in which they live, helping to pave the way for greater gender equality and inclusion in the Arab business sector.

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