The level of employment is an important determinant of economic welfare. Since social protection systems are weak in developing countries, the effect of trade liberalization on the employment structure determines the level of poverty and the distribution of income and wages. These variables are strongly associated with trade liberalization. Therefore, this study seeks to understand the relationship between openness to international trade (resulting from trade liberalization) and changing employment opportunities for women in the 16 Middle East economies.
In this study, we consider the trade share as (%) of GDP as a measure of openness. To measure women’s absolute employment rate we used female employment rate data. To analyse the effect of trade openness on the gender gap we used gender inequality in education (gender parity index (GPI)); namely the ratio of girls to boys in primary and secondary enrolment . Female labor force as a percentage of the total shows the extent to which women are active in the labor force. A simple linear regression used to measure the impact of openness on women’s employment opportunities in Middle east countries. All data are from World Development Indicators based on International Labour Organization, Key Indicators of the Labour Market database.
Results indicated a statistically significant impact for the trade openness on women’s absolute employment rate for all countries being involved except (Egypt, Israeli entity, Jordan, and West Bank and Gaza). The results also shows statistically significant impact for the Trade openness on the Female employee ((% of Total Labor Force) for all the countries being involved except(Egypt, Israel entity, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and West Bank and Gaza). Finally, The results indicates statistically significant impact for the Trade openness on Gender gap for (Iran, Lebanon, Oman, Syrian Arab Republic, and Turkey) and that the Gap was in favour of (Males), while the Gap for (Kuwait) was in favour of (Females). While the countries (Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Qatar) had not significant impact of Trade openness on Gender gap.