Do we really need 'women's empowerment'?

Over the last decade we’ve seen a surge in national development plans and aspirational visions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and especially in the GCC states. These vision statements are written in corporate language with a special emphasis on diversifying the economy. They are also aligned with international development agendas and almost all involve organisations like the UNDP, the World Bank, UN Women and their various branches of NGOs. At the heart of these visions, the role of women has become flavour of the day, and seemingly “adding women” is now synonymous with pro…

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