This policy brief presents some preliminary findings of a recently launched assessment of existing policy measures regarding women empowerment issues in the South Mediterranean region. In order to explain the persistence of numerous gender gaps, the author examines the reasons behind the inefficiency of national policies regarding gender equality, by comparing the wanted effects of implemented legal measures with the latest state of play in terms of gender issues in the different countries of the region.
First, the ‘Mediterranean Paradox’ (Assaad et al., 2018) could be explained by the existence of structural obstacles, crucial to overcome: Multi-layered gender structural inequalities exist in the region and are self-reinforced in a vicious cycle induced by unconscious biasness, social pressures, misinterpreted social and cultural norms and power discrimination. Second, the brief shows that punctual uncoordinated measures explain some of the persistence in gender gaps, mostly due to the lack of collaboration between stakeholders and of true political will to prioritize gender equality issue and deconstruct social norms and stereotypes. This policy brief also seeks to provide preliminary ideas to achieve a more comprehensive and inclusive policy-making on these issues. Combatting unconscious biases and policy inefficiency goes through increasing the outreach of female success stories, mentoring, promoting collaboration between stakeholders and embedding women empowerment in public-private partnerships.
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.