Women, Management and Globalization in the Middle East

Journal of Business Ethics 83 (1):85-100 (2008)
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Abstract

This paper provides new theoretical insights into the interconnections and relationships between women, management and globalization in the Middle East (ME). The discussion is positioned within broader globalization debates about women’s social status in ME economies. Based on case study evidence and the UN datasets, the article critiques social, cultural and economic reasons for women’s limited advancement in the public sphere. These include the prevalence of the patriarchal work contract within public and private institutions, as well as cultural and ethical values which create strongly defined gender roles. The discussion examines the complexities of conceptualizing women’s equality and empowerment in Islamic states. The paper reveals that there have been significant achievements in advancing women in leadership and political roles, but that there are still institutional and cultural barriers embedded in business systems. Linking feminist, development and management theoretical strands a development framework is proposed which is sensitive to the Islamic Shar’ia encompassing government, organization and individual level strategies. It is suggested that scholars should integrate literatures from gender and management, development and Middle East studies, and in particular that critical scholars of gender and organization should consider the interrelations of the national and transnational in critiques of contemporary global capitalism to understand the complexity of women and social change in the ME.

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