When global oil and gas prices fell in 2014, many oil-producing countries, including those in the Gulf, felt the consequences and began to face the stark reality that oil revenue-based economies must diversify in order to continue prospering. In the wake of the dramatic price change and the expectation that prices will not return to their previous highs, many oil revenue-based economies in the Gulf region began to implement, or are planning to enact, economic reforms. Four such countries are Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait. Their reforms are important, but for these four nations, in order to continue innovating and prospering economically, it is crucial to craft policies that strive to include women in the workforce.
In Energy: Driving force behind increasing female participation in the Gulf?, Global Energy Center Associate Director Bina Hussein examines the current state and impact of female participation in the workforce in these four Gulf countries, the economic reforms the countries are implementing, and the role the energy sector could play in increasing female participation in the workforce region-wide. Due to the dominant role that energy plays in the region’s economies, the energy sector is in a position to make tremendous progress and thus set an example for others to increase female workforce participation. There are certainly many challenges, but this is a leadership opportunity that cannot be ignored.