One school of thought, I suppose, is to buck what may be a dysfunctional, archaic system and undermine it and ultimately overthrow it. Another school of thought, however, bears serious consideration, as Saadia Zahidi suggests: Work within a system, find best fit solutions for a culture, and leverage media and technology for this purpose. Some companies in Saudi Arabia apparently find ways that work well.
But the work is far from complete. Large gaps between women and men’s labor-force participation remain: for example, about 47 percent of women in the United Arab Emirates that could be working are employed, compared with about 92 percent of men. If, during the next 15 years, the participation of women in the workforce across the Middle East and North Africa simply reaches that of two-thirds of men—around 60 percent—it has the potential to spike regional GDP by 20 percent or more. As businesses and policy makers recognize the benefits and momentum gathers to eliminate the barriers blocking Muslim women from full economic participation, this largely unseen population will truly become a force to be reckoned with.
Saadia Zahidi is... head of the Gender Parity Programme and head of Employment, Skills and Human Capital. In November 2014, the proposal for her book, Womenomics in the Muslim World, won the inaugural FT/McKinsey Bracken Bower Prize for business writers under age 35.Reference: Women in the Muslim world taking the fast track to change.