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Woman leadership

  1. 1. Women, Management and Globalization in the Middle East Author(s): Beverly Dawn Metcalfe Source: Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 83, No. 1, Women, Globalisation and Global Management (Nov., 2008), pp. 85-100 Published by: Springer Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25482355 . Accessed: 10/04/2013 01:33 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. . Springer is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Journal of Business Ethics. http://www.jstor.org This content downloaded from on Wed, 10 Apr 2013 01:33:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  2. 2. Journal of Business Ethics (2008) 83:85-100 ? Springer 2008 DOI 10.1007/sl0551-007-9654-3 Women, Management and Globalization in theMiddle East Beverly Dawn Metcalfe 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 inME economies. Based on case study evidence and the UN datasets, the article cnrtiques 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 pnrvate institutions, as well as cultural and ethical values which create strongly defined gender roles. The discussion examines the com plexities 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 institutionaland culturalbarriersembedded inbusi ness systems. Linking feminist, development and man agement 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 inte grate literatures from gender and management, develop ment and Middle East studies, and in particular that critical scholars of gender and organization should con sider the interrelations of the national and transnational in critiques of contemporary global capitalism to understand the complexity of women and social change in theME. KEY WORDS: women, globalization, Middle East, management, transnational feminisms, empowerment Introduction As the societies of theArabME confront theprocess of globalization, incorporating pressures for demo cratic change, social justice and tradedevelopment, no issue todayoffers amore formidablechallenge for governments than the unequal status of women. Since the 1970s examination of women's role in the ME has often dominated in representations of political and economic transformationsas evidenced in The IranianRevolution, current debates about constitutional democracy in Iraq and the Taliban regimes inAfghanistan. Yet, it isonly recently that women's contribution to trade and development is being addressed (Acker, 2005; Noland and Pack, 2004). The ArabHuman Development Report 2003 argued that the full empowerment of Arab women, recognizing their right to equal participation in politics, society and the economy, as well as to education and other means of building capabilities was a significant aspect of the region's future development in a global society (Metcalfe, 2006, 2007;World Bank, 2003a, b, c;World Bank, 2005). The eradication of gender inequalities and the empowerment and participation of both sexes in all spheresof public life are a global concem (Walby, 2005). For example,modemization has transformed women's opportunities in the UK and USA, yet women's active participation in political life and congress remains relatively low. A great deal of women-in-management literaturehas examined the barrierswhich limitwomen's social and economic development, yet these substantivewritings are lar gely positioned within westernand developedcultural spaces (for example USA Powell, 2000). The limi tations that hinder women's progress in organiza tions arewell documented, including thepersistence of gender stereotypes (Powell, 2000; Reskin and Padavic, 1994;Walby, 1990); biases in recruitment and selection practices (Dickens, 1997;Hamrs, 2002; Powell, 2000; Truss, 1999); and few female role models (Davidson andBurke, 2004; Powell, 2000). Scholars have also noted how organizations are gendered and reproduce unequal power relations (Heam et al., 2006; Legge, 2004). Only recently have scholars in management and organization This content downloaded from on Wed, 10 Apr 2013 01:33:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  3. 3. 86Beverly Dawn Metcalfe behaviour examined gender issues within developing or transitional countries or regions (for example Budwhar and Debrah, 2004; Metcalfe and Afanas sieva, 2005). While there wiU be some common concerns that men and women may share globaUy, it is important to examine the specificities of socio cultural and political processes and their impact on gender systems (Fagenson, 1993; PoweU, 2000; see also Roald, 2001). It is, however, the ME countries where the gap between the rights of men and women is the most visible and significant, and where resistance to wo men's equality has been most chaUenging (Mernissi, 1991; Metcalfe, 2007; Moghadam, 2005; UNIFEM, 2004). Women face discrimination in both the economic and social spheres, and many women do not enjoy equal rights as citizens (CAWTAR, 2001; Seikaly, 1994; World Bank, 2003a). Women are not aUowed to vote in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait. Although women's rights organizations have repeatedly raised the issue, not one country in the Arab region has a law thatmakes domestic violence a criminal offence (UNIFEM, 2004). Arab women are significantly under-represented (or entirely absent) in senior executive positions in politics, public administration and legal systems and professional roles in the private sector. Yet, women are chal lenging the prevailing social ethics which require that they define their self-identity in the home sphere and eschew a career. In addition to the change that women face in their local communities, their status is affected by transnational feminisms and global political developments. The emergence of extremist Islamic organizations presents a threat to the gains women have achieved as weU as to the possibilities of reform (Badran, 2005; UNDP, 2003). The politicization of Islam seriously complicates the advocacy of equal rights (Badran, 2005; Esposito, 2005). This is not to suggest, however, that Islam represents ethical value systems that undermine equality between men and women, rather, as the paper wiU argue, that Islam has been used in global discourses to reinforce patriarchal social and work systems. This paper contributes to the scarce knowledge that currently exists on the position of women in management and leadership in theME. Through the integration of literatures in gender, management and ME studies the focus wiU primarily be on unveiling the socio-cultural, economic and institutional barriers that limit women's advancement, as weU as docu menting the progress that has been achieved by women in politics and the professions only in the last few years. The paper presents a framework which can be used to evaluate women's progress in leadership and management incorporating government, organization and individual level strategies. Signifi cantly, the model recognizes that the gender regime in Islamic states is based on sex difference (Dickens, 1997; Legge, 2004; Liff, 1996;Walby, 1990). The underpinning arguments presented suggest therefore that we cannot examine women's public position without connecting to broader socio-cultural debates relating to Islam and gender. Gender, globalization and work The Arab world is diverse economicaUy, sociaUy, historicaUy and politicaUy. Yet Arab people are linked in a variety of ways. The great majority are linked by common language (Arabic), religion (Is lam) and cultural identity and heritage (Ahmed, 1998; Ali, 1995, 1999; UNIFEM, 2004). Global ization processes and economic opportunities remain uneven, between countries, within countries and between individuals (Acker, 2005; UNIFEM, 2004; World Bank, 2003a, b, c). The region continues to face social transformations, demographic shifts, economic waves of affluence as weU as civil strife (Ali, 1999; Noland and Pack, 2004; Norris and Ingleheart, 2002). Consistent with the contradictory nature of globalization the impact on women has been mixed (Walby, 2005; Pfeifer and Posusney, 2003). One feature of economic globalization has been the generation of jobs in export processing, free trade zones and world market factories asweU as e commerce and finance, especiaUy in oil/gas-rich economies such as Bahrain, UAE and Saudi Arabia. Labour market policies such as Emiritarization, Omanization, Bahrainization and Saudiazation have also created job opportunities in public administra tion for women (Adler, 2004; Moghadam, 2003, 2005). In addition, foUowing international trends there are signs of increased entrepreneurial devel opment amongst women especiaUy in Jordan, Egypt and Bahrain (Basma, 1999; Carter andWeeks, 2002; Tzanntos and Kaur, 2003). This content downloaded from on Wed, 10 Apr 2013 01:33:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  4. 4. Women, Management and Globalization in theMiddle East 87 Development scholars stress that globalization overaU has tended to increase inequality between men and women as manifest, for example, in the 'feminization of poverty' and gendered international divisions of labour (Walby, 2005; World Bank, 2005). Women are still likely to be paid less than men, have lower literacy levels, and are less likely to be represented in government and senior public administration roles (Acker, 2005; World Bank, 2003c). ParadoxicaUy, structural adjustment programmes associated with liberalizing markets and finance flows have often have led to declines in public expenditure in social services such as health and education, and have increased insecurity for many where many women are employed (Pyle and Ward, 2003). It should be stressed that it is usually the better educated and younger women, rather than the poorest women, who benefit from economic integration and globalization (UNIFEM, 2004; Walby, 2005). Nonetheless, heightened transnational feminist dialogue, the mobilization of women's networks and the requirement ofME societies to expand into new markets have made gender a salient issue and placed women's empowerment on policy agendas of inter national organizations and national governments (Edwards and KuriviUa, 2005 Hearn et al., 2006). In the foUowing sections, we detail more closely how globalization is shaping gender regimes that disad vantage women at the structural, cultural and indi vidual identity levels.We draw on Acker's theoretical framework of inequality regimes which examines the interrelations of practices, processes, actions and meanings that result in, and maintain, gender inequalities in organizations (2006, p. 443). Although Acker's approach is positioned within western orga nization analysis the approach is valuable since it acknowledges that inequalities are interconnected to the surrounding society, politics, history and culture. Gendered work structures zAcker argues that gendered occupational structures have caused inequalities in organization hierarchies and limited women's opportunities (Acker, 2005, 2006). These limited opportunities are particularly prevalent for women in the ME, for while globalization has transformed economic opportunities forwomen in the Arab ME, the rate of women's labour market partici pation is stiU the lowest in theworld (UNIFEM, 2004; Wirth, 2001). Table I provides selected data for Arab countries and the USA and UK relating to women's labour participation rate, the GEM ranking, the number of women professional and technical workers, women's current participation in cabinet and the year women received the right to vote. The Arab countries can be divided into three categories, depending on their labour and natural resource endowments: labour-abundant and natural resource-rich countries, labour-abundant and natural resource-poor countries and labour-importing and natural resource-rich countries (UNIFEM, 2004). The rate of women's participation in the work force tends to be higher in countries with abundant labour and relatively limited resources such as Egypt, Leb anon, Morocco and Tunisia, as opposed to countries that are abundant with labour and rich in resources such as Algeria, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. There is a high degree of gender and occupational segregation with the majority of Arab women working in the service sector and in the public sector where social security exists (UNDP, 2003; UNIFEM, 2004). This ismore pronounced in oil-rich countries. GCC countries that are endowed with natural resources which import labour, however, show high rates of women's participation. Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar are the three countries with the highest levels of women's employment. Women's current labour participation rate in the Arab region has seen tremendous increases of late (UNIFEM, 2004; Wirth, 2001; World Bank, 2003b). The percentage of female labour participa tion for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) increased 47% between 1960 and 2000. This masks the vast differences across countries. During the period between 1960 and 2000 Bahrain's women's labour participation increased by 668%; Kuwait's 486%; the United Arab Emirates 548%; while Yemen's female labour participation increased only 15%. (World Bank, 2003b). Moghadam (2005) argues that in many countries this labour market growth is largely attributable to the 'feminization of public employment'. ME occupational structures are strongly gendered with the majority of women employed in health, education and social care. There is also evidence of vertical segregation with women concentrated in lower level roles (World Bank, This content downloaded from on Wed, 10 Apr 2013 01:33:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  5. 5. 0000 TABLEIMiddle East countries 2005 (compiled from Human Development Report 2005) CountryGEMSeatsinMinisterialpositions,FemaleeconomicFemalelegislatorProfessTechWomenreceived parliament(%)actualnumberactivityratemanagers(%)workers(%)righttovote UN2005UNIFEM(2004) UK1817.93(1924)53.533541918,1965USA1214.85(1952)59.646551920,1965 Bahrain687.5a4(2000)c34.52110191973a2002^ Egypt774.33(1962)309311956? SaudiArabia780022.418316-^ Jordan-7.91(1982)e28.1d24-1974?j Oman-7.86(1995)20.3171994,2003| Kuwait-05(1996)36.2230-2005b* UAE-12(1996)32.113825-f Qatar13(1996)42.6151999J. _r^ aAccordingtotheconstitutioninforce(1973)aUcitizenswereequalbeforethelawbutwomenwerenotaUowedtocasttheirvoteuntilthenationalreferendumheldinFebruary2001whichapprovedtheNationalCharter.Womenwerenominatedinthenationalelectionsin2002butnonewasappointed. On16May2005parliamentvotedalawgrantingwomentherighttostandforelection. cNewconstitutionbeingfinalizedprovideswomenrighttovotebuttheyhavenotvotedyet. TheJordaneconomicassessmentreportbytheWorldBank(2005)estimatestherealfigureissomewherebetween12and26%. eJordan first appointed a woman a ministerial position in 1980. Since then there has always been female representation PlanningandInternationalCooperationisSuhairAlAli. Dataobtainedfrompersonalknowledge.Thedateinbracketsindicatesthefirstyearawomanwasappointedminister.Itshouldalsobenotedthatinanumber ofstatesawoman'sministerialpositionisattributabletoherroyalbirth,forexampleMinisterofPlanningandInternationalCooperationSuhairAlAliinQatar, Ministerof EconomicPlanningSheikhaLubna al-Qassemiin UAE. This content downloaded from on Wed, 10 Apr 2013 01:33:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  6. 6. Women, Management and Globalization in theMiddle East 89 2003c, 2005). In some countries women are also barred from certain professions, for example archi tecture, some fields in medicine and engineering occupations (Bahry and Marr, 2005; Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2003). While women's work opportunities may be lim ited, education advances have been dramatic. Wo men's university participation has grown rapidly in some countries over the last 5 years. According to figures for enrolments in 2004 there are now more women than men in the universities in Jordan (60%), Bahrain (66%) and Qatar (76%) (Bahry and Marr, 2005; UNIFEM, 2004) and an equal number of women registered in Saudi Arabian universities in 2003 (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2003). However, education systems still sustain gender stereotypes directing women into 'appropriate' professional and female education programmes in social work and education (World Bank, 2003c, 2005). Women's development in politics has been signifi cant in the last few years, although the results inTable I reveal that increased labour market participation in the USA andUK has not necessarily increased the number of women political representatives. Indeed, Oman currently hasmore women inministerial positions than do the UK and USA. Wmle not aU countries have given women the vote (Saudi Arabia and UAE) women have accessed power and decision-making roles and have strongly advocated women's rights, have suggested changes to legal codes and have served as a role model forwomen acrossME states. A key figure is Sheikha Lubna al-Qasami who was appointed Minister of Economy and Planning, the first woman inUEA history to be appointed at that level. She is unusual compared to other female political representatives in theME as shewas educated in the US, is not married and does not plan tomarry. Other key female figures hold primarily stereotypical female political roles including Fatima Balooshi at Social Affairs and Dr. Nada Haffad at Health in Bahrain's governing body. Nonetheless, these figures are quite dramatic since less than 10 years ago there was virtuaUy no female political representatives in the Arab states at aU. Gendered employment practices Gendered organization theorists have shown how organizing process and practices produce class and gender inequalities (Acker, 1992). In the majority of Arab states women's right to work is granted (for example Jordan Constitution 1952; National Charter 2001, Kuwait Constitution 1996; Bahrain National Charter 2001); however, the interpretation of labour laws is guided by urf (custom) and Shar'ia law which reflect the need to protect women and create a moral work environment. As such, employment protection legislation is limited and does not cover sexual discrimination, since dis crimination is perceived as being embedded within Shar'ia law. Labour market structures and employ ment regulation frameworks support gendered work practices at the organization level in several ways. Tax, business loans and employment-related benefits are often channelled only through men, preventing women's entrepreneurship development. Even women's banking services require a male relative or husband as executor (El-Azhary, 2003; Kandoyti, 1996). In Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar oil companies support gender segregation by subsi dizing sex-separate offices and educational facilities. This spatial organizing structure in itself limits career choices for women (Kandoyti, 1996; Moghadam, 2005; see also Budhwar et al, 2002). Metcalfe (2006) found in sex-segregated organizations in Bahrain and Oman that there were limited funds for skills development for women since training budgets were largely allocated to men, especiaUy if the training was tied to a professional or higher degree. A further study examining gender and HRM relationships in the ME found that that equal opportunities or diversity issues did not constitute part of general HRM procedures since equality was considered as being constituted within the guidelines of Islamic Shar'ia (ILO, 1998; Metcalfe, 2007). These gendered HRM practices have been found to be prevalent inwestern organization policies too (see Truss, 1999). Important factors limiting women's progression are the recruitment and HR practices of private sector organizations in the Arab region. There is reluctance by private sector institutions to employ women partly due to social norms and partly due to additional costs that may be incurred for maternity provisions (Al-Lamki, 2000; Kingdom of Bahrain and ILO, 2002; Wirth, 2001). It should be noted, however, that women themselves prefer towork for public agencies since the working conditions and This content downloaded from on Wed, 10 Apr 2013 01:33:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  7. 7. 90Beverly Dawn Metcalfe benefits are often more favourable (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2003; Wirth, 2001). Gendered cultural practices While the above outlines the structural barriers that limit women's opportunities there are also embed ded cultural practices that define gender roles in very particular ways. Gender, work and social relations are governed by a traditional patriarchal structure in ME states (Al-Lamki, 2000; Walby, 1990; World Bank, 2003a). This attributes a higher value to job roles and abilities to dominant masculinities (Acker, 1992). Women's most important role, according to the society, is as a homemaker and mother, while the man's responsibility is to support and protect the wife and the family. The man is considered the head of the household even in cases where the woman makes large contributions to the family's income. Hence, women enjoy limited, if any, recognition, for their contribution to the family, and are often seen as legaUy, financiaUy and sociaUy dependent on men (World Bank, 2003b, p. 9). In addition, there is a code of modesty that rests on the dignity and reputation of the woman, with restrictions on interactions between men and women and anchored in family laws based on Shar'ia law as already indi cated (complied from UNDP, 2003, 2005; World Bank, 2003a, b). This is supported by the dominant cultural practice of qiwama (protection), which requires that men must 'protect' a woman's honour and sexuality. Within an Arabic cultural context, however, the concept does not denote superiority of men over women (Roald, 2001; UNIFEM, 2004, pp. 59?60). Notwithstanding this, the consequence of this is that women tend to get married younger and have children earlier (UNIFEM, 2004). There are also restrictions that are imposed on women which limit their mobility within their country (for example Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait), as weU as women having to obtain per mission to travel overseas from their husband or guardian (for example Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Egypt). These cultural practices create gendered work relations and organization structures and sustain sex-segregated work spaces and, likewise, sex-segregated occupations. Difference, Islam and identity While the foregoing discussion has reviewed struc tural and cultural processes that influence gender relations, one important aspect that needs unravel ling is the religious context in the ME. It has been argued that religion is one of the many factors that can contribute to the formation of national culture, and which, through national culture, may influence management processes and individual subject posi tions (Tayeb, 1997). Islam has remained an impor tant source from which the cultural fabric of Arab society gained its patterns (AU, 1995). The role of Islam plays a significant role in shaping economic and social and identity relations. The importance of Islam as a social and organizing influence is shown in research which examines how the Qu'ran and Hadith provide amoral framework which guides the behaviour of aUmen and women. The achievement of the 'weU being' (falah) of aU men and women (AU, 1995, 1999; Ahmed, 1998) is an underlying philosophy in aU human activity and communications. The concepts of unity (itihad), justice (adalah) trusteeship (khilafah) have a signifi cant bearing on ethical behaviours in management and organization relations (Rice, 1999; Rice and Al-Mosawi, 2002). ME scholars also note that the Qu'ran is explicit in identifying the different but complementary roles of men and women (Ahmed, 1998; Roald, 2001). A recurring theme is the equal but different identities of men and women: And themale isnot like the female (Surah, The Family of Imran 3:36) And everything we have, is created in pairs, that you may remember (Surah Scattering ofWinds, 51:49) The prevalence ofthe embedded different subjec tivities of men and women is revealed in recent research which reaffirmed the engrained belief in the differences of men and women and the public roles that they perform. The Women Affairs Committee of the Democratic Arab-Islamic Wassat Society (2002) in Bahrain found that over 60% of the female popu lation did not support female political candidates because they felt that women did not possess appro priate skills to participate in politics, had limited political knowledge and awareness, as weU as ques tioned whether women's role in politics could detract This content downloaded from on Wed, 10 Apr 2013 01:33:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  8. 8. Women, Management and Globalization in theMiddle East 91 from women's role in caring for the family (Gulf Centre for Strategic Studies, 2004; Kingdom of Bahrain and United Nations, 2003). These gendering processes are an integral part of an individual's sense making practices regarding their own and others professional and work identities (Acker, 1992, 2006). The commitment to difference as a social and organizing principle is perhaps best encapsulated by reviewing the status of Arab countries signed up to the United Nations CEDAW convention. Of the 22 Arab League states, 16 have ratified or acceded to CEDAW although most have stated reservations (see Table II). Arab states argue that they are not against the principles of CEDAW but wish to maintain their commitment to Islamic Shar'ia. This stresses that men and women be treated differently, not unequaUy. As UNIFEM state this stance 'may be a reflection of equity considerations rather than biases against women' (2004, p. 26). Feminist eco nomics scholars note, however, the different but equal philosophy is difficult to sustain as 'differences are too entwined with power and resources' (Wal by, 2005, p. 374). While many ME women are embracing funda mentalist precepts that would ostensibly identify women's role as positioned in the family, others are remoulding Islamic traditions, finding Islam as a vehicle for rebellion against existing political (male) authority (Ahmed, 1998; Badran, 2005; Roald, 2001). As Amat-al-Aleem Alososwa, the first woman to be appointed to aministerial position in Lebanon commented: 'women's rights are human rights are Islamic rights' (Badran, 2005, p. 22). There is thus great debate and discernment amongst feminist scholars and Islamic scholars about the empowering and disempowering effects of Islamic philosophy. A key chaUenge presented by feminist scholars is that women's individual subject positions are largely related to the limited knowledge of women's rights as citizens (Moghadam, 2005). A major problem for women in the ME region is a lack of information about women's leadership and women's global TABLE II Selected Arab States and CEDAW accession and reservations compiled from United Nations Datasets 2004 StateDate Date Art 2 Art 7 Art 9 Art 15 Art 16 Art 29 Total of signature of ratification _ reservations (a-g represent respective paragraphs) Jordan 3/2/80 1/792 Ratify 9/215/4 16/1 (c) (d) (g)3 Algeria 22/5/96 Accession 2 9/2 15/4 1629/1 5 Iraq 3/8/86 Accession 2 9/19/2 18 29/14 Kuwait 2/9/94 Accession 7(a) 9/2 16/1 (?) 4 Lebanon 21/4/97 Accession 9/2 16/1 (c) (d) (f) (g) 3 Egypt 16/7/80 18/9/8 Ratify 2 9/2 6 29/1 4 Saudi Arabia 7/9/2000 7/9/2000 9/229/12 Bahrain 18/6/02 18/7/02 Accession 2 9/2 15/4 16 29/1 5 UAE UAE has not signed CEDAW Article 2: Condemns discrimination against women in all forms and agree to pursue all appropriate means to eliminate it (particularly incorporating principle of equality in laws and actions). Article 7: Political and public life (voting and participation in public office and NGO). Article 9: Nationality of mothers to be passed to children. Article 15: Women's equality with men before the law. Article 16: Equality of rights in marriage and family relations. Article 29: Settling of disputes by arbitration or International Court of Justice. aSaudi Arabia has made a general reservation against the CEDAW convention as foUows: 'In case of contradiction between any term of the Convention and the norms of Islamic law, the Kingdom is not under obligation to observe the contradictory terms ofthe Convention' (See UNIFEM, 2004). This content downloaded from on Wed, 10 Apr 2013 01:33:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  9. 9. 92Beverly Dawn Metcalfe achievements. They also lack knowledge and access to independent women's advocacy organizations. Fur ther, while women's advocacy in most regions exists, many are tied to government or Islamic societies. Independent women's groups are not permitted to operate openly without some measure of government control in the UAE, Qatar or Saudi Arabia for example, and in Bahrain and Oman they face strict controls over membership (Bahry andMarr, 2005). Women's progress and development in the Middle East The foregoing discussion has highlighted that glob alization and women's economic and social progress is multi-faceted and complex. While there are barriers inherent within governance systems, labour market structures, as weU as women's individual subject position themselves, there have been remarkable advancements in women's overaU status of late (Kandoyti, 1996; Moghadam, 2003). The UN Beijing Conference on Women in 1995 sparked a global commitment to the empowerment of women everywhere and drew unprecedented international attention. The internationalization of discourses on equality, empowerment, autonomy, democratiza tion, participation and human rights has been taken on by women's organizations and governments around the world (Acker, 2005; Moghadam, 1997). The adoption of theUnited Nations CEDAW protocol on gender equity as already highlighted by many ME states represents the countries' commitment to social and economic change (see Table II on CEDAW Accession). AU Arab states adopted the MiUennium Development Goals (MDGs) which emphasize gen der equality and the empowerment ofwomen (Acker, 2005; UNIFEM, 2004). In the foUowing sections we provide a critique of women's progress, especiaUy in management and leadership positions in theME. The analysis includes institutional developments, organi zation initiatives and women's individual attempts to secure political agency and representation through the growth and activities of women's professional devel opment organizations and NGOs. We draw attention to the variation in gender machineries, women's political representation as weU as consider transna tional governance institutions such as the United Nations and ILO. Women and institutional development While detailed critique of the democratic structure and governance systems is beyond the scope of this paper (see Esposito, 2005 for an exceUent summary) many ME states have made significant efforts in improving institutional frameworks that can tackle inequalities (Gulf Centre for Strategic Studies, 2004; UNIFEM, 2004; World Bank, 2005). FoUowing the Beijing conference which caUed for countries to develop National Action Plans (NAP) for women, the majority of ME states have established inde pendent women's ministries or sections to ensure that women's issues are included in public policy planning and development (see Table III). These bodies advocate the empowerment of women in a range of areas including economic empowerment, social empowerment, legal rights awareness, capacity building for women as weU as working to incor porate gender mainstreaming principles in aU aspects of public administration and policy planning. An objective of these units is also to start the process of data coUection on women's work and status in their regions in order that they benchmark progress and can prepare gender-sensitive development plans (UNIFEM, 2004). In Egypt as part ofthe Women atWork Programme, equal opportunity units were established in 32 min istries to ensure equality between men and women, in addition to ensuring that women's constitutional rights in theworkplace were observed. In addition the establishment of aWomen's Business Resource Centrehzs provided administrative, research and marketing support to women seeking to start smaU business. In the year 2005 the centre provided consultations to 1240 women, conducted 247 feasibility studies of smaU enterprises and ran a series of seminars and training sessions targeting university graduates and entrepreneurship development (Metcalfe, 2007). A major success has been the establishment of The E Marketing Support Centre, which was created to help women running smaU businesses acquire the skiUs they need to promote their products on the Internet (Egypt Council forWomen, 2006). In Bahrain the Supreme Council For Women was established under the decree ofthe National Charter and exists to: 'define and lead the women's move ment to equip women to take up their rightful role in the society, establishing constitutional and civil This content downloaded from on Wed, 10 Apr 2013 01:33:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  10. 10. Women, Management and Globalization in theMiddle East 93 fl fr oI c o I ?a 1^1 s ^o I g ? I ^ 1 ?f_ I Am .5 _ o fl ^ D O ^ 2 <D fl fl S k2 4 " Z PQ ?B PQ 2 " p ~ fl <* ?g rt > ? fl ^0* PQ&?^^? w? fl fL * ~ ?"_ o *2 Ah ^ .y S 1 til || is ?1 ? T3^fl fl 7" at^ O _< J& ^ ?d_ ? _ fe> fl g gf ? ? | ? g ^ -aafl | ? ^ fl ^OhC^H s1 5 5 & I q I i I a i H fl A fl_h (N _ fl __< <N | EE uS 2 ,S u g ? && ?i -Nilfl rv -dflON'13^ fl o "8 aaJ al n fl cO *vO fl OnO (N ti _- t! C "O'5 2 2 H^ ,_??hrt O +-> C -? fl <L>> ^H O- __ fl _fl pqU z <? Z ? & .g O PQ ?> w mechanisms for the development and empowerment of women in Bahrain' (Supreme Council for Women). The Secretary General Lulwa Al-Awadi of the Council was given the rank of Minister in December 2004. It is headed by Sheikha Sebeeka (first wife of Sheikh Hamad), and while there have been some moves towards assisting women in leadership programmes such as the creation of a Royal University (established October 2005) for women's leadership and community training and a Crown Prince Leadership Programme which is to tackle issues of sustainable competitive advantage for Bahrain, the majority of the council's efforts have focused on upholding women's role in the family as part of a commitment to the foundations of an Islamic state (Metcalfe, 2006). While the establishment of women's councils represents a significant development, it should be highlighted that any social changes thatmay transform gender relations are governed by an Islamic gender regime which is aligned with Shar'ia law. The King dom of Saudi Arabia Human Development report states that there is commitment to the: 'Expansion of work opportunities for women by opening new fields of employment in conformity with Islamic Sharia' (2003, p. 112). In Jordan The Jordanian National Council for Women has declared its commitment to empowering women while preserving the country's religious and social identity (World Bank, 2005). The Jordanian national strategy focuses on the empower ment of women in six fields, including legislation, economics, society, education and health. Their commitment stipulates any women's strategy should: ...be consistent with the Jordanian constitution, Jorda nian national charter, Islamic Jurisprudence, values of Arab and Muslim society, principles of human rights, aspiration to progress and development, regional and international agreements (Jordanian National Strategy forWomen, 1993 inMetcalfe, 2006). The charter further declares that the strategy should promote cohesion of the family and portray an image of women as partners of men in society. Women and international organizations The creation of institutional and governing frame works, however, also requires support and cooperation This content downloaded from on Wed, 10 Apr 2013 01:33:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  11. 11. 94Beverly Dawn Metcalfe from business partners. There is some evidence that MNCs located in the ME region are supporting women's advancement in the public sphere. SheU and General Electric, for example, are promoting women in business through Businesswoman and Entrepreneurship of the Year awards (Metcalfe, 2006). These awards provide women leaders with recognition and status and help chaUenge cultural and gender stereotypes about women's role in business (Adler, 2004; Carter and Weeks, 2002). SheU and General Electric have also established a women's ME network to help foster and support knowledge transfer and learning. Their current HR strategies also provide for building diversity objec tives into long-term succession planning. It should be noted, however, that the majority of MNCs tend to employ female international staff at middle and senior levels rather than local female staff. Contrary to this, evidence from various studies of gender and work in the global economy revealed thatMNCs' commitment to an equality philosophy in regional subsidiaries is uneven, and that MNCs are more likely to perpetuate inequalities between men and women (Pyle andWard, 2003; Zanani and Jensons, 2003; see Hearn et al., 2006). Indeed, Edwards and KuriviUa (2005) highlighted that globaUy there was a great deal of ambiguity about equality and diversity policies and their HR strategic approach in regional subsidiaries was one of political and social expediency. A good example is that current government policy in Saudi Arabia advocates part-time work for women as this 'suits the special circumstances of many women' (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2003, p. 112). MNCs, however, are reluctant to reform employment systems since part-time arrangements are not a common feature of work practices inME states. This highlights the ways in which transna tional processes and local specificities intertwine (Walby, 2005). A reluctance by MNCs to tackle sensitive local organization and managerial cultural practices that are at odds with their global corporate philosophy has meant that women's advancement in business has been increasingly supported by international agencies such as the ILO andUN (Hearn et al., 2006; Metcalfe, 2007). This is significant since it is international organizations that are providing the lead in social and equality transformations. An example is the micro start initiative in Bahrain that has been able to help more than 2000 low-income entrepreneurs in the Arab region since 1998. The programme was funded with US$1 miUion from the government of Bahrain and US$ 500,000 from the UNDP. The Alexandria Business Association (ABA) is playing a key role in Bahrain's Micro-start Project as an international micro-finance service provider (see Basma, 1999; UNIFEM, 2004). Women's leadership and entrepreneurial development A number of important achievements have been made by women in the sphere of leadership and entrepreneurial development. In just 5 years the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce grew from having no female members to 1785. Dr. Lulwa Mutlaq, Vice-President of the Arab Banking Co-operation, was voted as President of the Bahrain Management Society, a predominantly male organization in the Gulf (Metcalfe, 2007). In Saudi Arabia the Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CO) are setting up female provisions to assist entrepreneurial develop ment including information and advice with business start ups and finance and legal counselling. In addi tion Chambers of Commerce are expanding provi sions for specialist women's training, including inter alia: banking, finance, public relations, managing smaU enterprises, and the management of social services (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2003). The Princess Basma Resource Centre in Amman Jordan provides similar services (Metcalfe, 2006). At the regional level the OECD's Centre for Entrepreneurship has been assisting women's entre preneurship training inMorocco and Turkey. The World Bank has established a development project Investment Climates and Women's Entrepreneurship which is part of a larger gender project in theMiddle East and North Africa (MENA) (World Bank, 2005) which is assessing the opportunities for women entrepreneurs inMENA client countries to promote women's entrepreneurship. Women's organizations A contributory factor to women's leadership devel opment is the growth of women's organizations This content downloaded from on Wed, 10 Apr 2013 01:33:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  12. 12. Women, Management and Globalization in theMiddle East 95 (CAWTAR, 2001; Roald, 2001). At the grassroots levels women's organizations have been playing a pivotal role in transforming social relations (Badran, 2005). Women's organizations have grown steadily in the last decade especiaUy in the Gulf region (Moghadam, 1997). A few of these social networks as highlighted above have been supported by orga nizations. The majority of women's organizations in the ME, however, have grown from transnational feminist movements and increased political con sciousness about women's role in society (Acker, 2005; Badran, 2005; Walby, 2005). Global feminists are bound together by a common discourse of globalization and are developing a feminist organi zation praxis that relies on coalition and network building (Acker, 2006; Walby, 2005). While a great deal of women's organizations concentrate on pro moting traditional female roles such as child care, health education and religious education (for example the UAE Women's Federation founded by Sheikha Fatima), there are an increasing number that are dedicated to advancing women in politics and leadership roles. Specifically these organizations contribute to women's development in progressive ways through provision of literacy programmes, raising legal awareness about employment and per sonal status rights, providing training programmes for work-related skiUs aswell political participation (for example Bahrain's Women's Society). Other organizations unite professional women and offer a development forum for enhancing women's knowledge and skills. The Jordan Forum for Women and Business' vision is to 'empower women's participation in all social, cultural, legal, business and economic development in Jordan, through education, advocacy, network ing, training and professional support' (World Bank, 2005). In addition, the Bahrain Businesswoman's Society (BBS) was recently successful in acquiring funding from UNIFEM to support entrepreneurial development skills training (Metcalfe, 2007). Many women's organizations, however, cannot be managed independently and are often subject to government checks or are tied to a religious party (CAWTAR, 2001). Women's organizations are also shaped by the nature of existing political regimes, for example an independent women's organization movement in the context of political repression. It is important to appreciate also that most of women's organizations are united predominantly by their middle-class background and their commitment to retain and expand their civic rights (Bahry andMarr, 2005; Moghadam, 1997). Advancing women in leadership and management in the Middle East The evidence in this paper has highlighted that there are globalizing pressures that are shaping specific forms of gender and economic relations at the societal, organization and individual identity levels. A unifying theme of these pressures is the principle of Shar'ia law, albeit having slightly different inter pretations in specific regions. That is, one conse quence of globalization processes in theME has been to make salient Islamic cultural values in shaping gender and work systems. Islam is a unifying cultural resource that forms a community of practice and assists in the formation of organization practices and individual subjectivities at institutional, organization and individual identity levels (Acker, 2006; Ahmed, 1998; Ah, 1995). Acknowledging this is important in mapping a way forward to further assist women's empower ment in the ME. An important consequence ofthe foregoing discussion is that development initiatives in Islamic states should advance the rights of women as well as recognize the importance of family in society. Family policies work to develop sustained and efficient family support systems and open up women's choice (Acker, 2005; Walby, 2005). A key development area then is to help women be able to combine work and family responsibilities, and this has been the primary characteristic of the develop ment of equal opportunity policies in western nations (Dickens, 1997; Hakim, 1996). There has been more than one way of conceptu alizing the nature of and route to gender equality. At least three major types of approach can be identified: equality through sameness (equal opportunities or equal treatment), through equal valuation of differ ence (special programmes), and the transformation of gendered practices and standards of evaluation (Liff, 1996). The first model is one inwhich equality based on sameness is fostered, especially where women enter previously male domains, and the existing male norm remains the standard (Acker, 1992). The second isone This content downloaded from on Wed, 10 Apr 2013 01:33:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  13. 13. 96Beverly Dawn Metcalfe inwhich there is amove towards the equal valuation of existing and different contributions of women and men in a gender-segregated society. The third is one where there is a new standard for both men and women, that is, the transformation of gender relations (Liff, 1996; Walby, 2005). Within theME states the approach is clearly one of difference, and in valuing the equal but different roles and abilities of men and women. An Islamic lens would thus support the development of women and management strategies that value sex differences, acknowledging that men and women may require different policy frameworks to enable equal participation in the public sphere (Hakim, 1996). Managing difference and the legiti macy of women's needs are an important political tactic in fostering social and economic transformation (Hearn et al., 2006; Zanani and Jansons, 2003). That is,women's unity is not essentialized but constructed in relation to the organization of social and economic relations (Liff, 1996; Hearn et al., 2006). The debates on the conceptualization of gender equality are informed by ongoing analysis of the processes of changes in gender relations. In particular there is a question of the extent to which progress for women is closely associated with economic development as contrasted to democraticaUy inspired social and civil society development (Acker, 2006). Here global critiques of empowerment are relevant. While acknowledging that empowerment as a con cept is fluid and variable according to social context, there is consensus about women having the ability to have options and power and control over resources (Longwe, 1997). The importance of sufficient wel fare regimes and access to productive resources are necessary requirements to foster empowerment ini tiatives in business spheres. However, the mobili zation and coUective action of women to chaUenge inequalities is also necessary. Significantly, women should consider themselves as not only able to define self-interest and choice, but also be entitled tomake choices (Longwe and Clarke, 1994 in Malhotra et al., 2002). This conscientisation (Longwe, 1997) and awareness raising or agency focus as a locus of empowerment is not to undo the responsibilities of governments and multilaterals in creating enabling factors to empower women, but to counter the fact giving women greater control over resources has not always led to the promotion of women's' interests. As Malhortra et al. argue: 'Without women's indi vidual or coUective ability to recognize and utilize resources in their own interests, resources cannot bring about empowerment' (2002, p. 9). Table IV represents a development model that focuses on capacity building initiatives for women's leadership advancement on three levels. To ensure women's economic security, there is a need for an enabling institutional, legal and regulatory frame work to facilitate women's access to economic resources. At the government level a key concern for women's organizations has been legislative measures that prohibit gender-based discrimination in the workplace since this is largely inadequate in most Arab states (Moghadam, 1997). There also need to be reforms in educational policy to include provision for women in vocational, professional and entre preneurial activities. This requires some of the women's administrative bodies in Arab states to give equal emphasis to the work as weU as the private sphere. The implementation of these institutional changes would require a greater number of women in public administration roles through gender inte gration and empowerment planning. This is one area where Arab states are actively promoting women's leadership and there is current debate about whether TABLE IV Women, learning and leadership development Organization Government Individual Diversity and EO policies Legislation Women's networks - local Learning and knowledge transfer Active role of women's councUs and international Support women's networks Development and training and Commitment to lifelong CoUaborations and enterprise development support for vocational provision learning with Chambers of Commerce Entrepreneurship support Political participation Political empowerment This content downloaded from on Wed, 10 Apr 2013 01:33:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  14. 14. Women, Management and Globalization in theMiddle East 97 quotas are a viable way forward (Badran, 2005; UNDP, 2005; World Bank, 2003c). In terms of economic planning there is a requirement for government agencies to consider the effect of trade policies on women and to ensure that gender mainstreaming principles are incorpo rated in trade agreements to support women's economic opportunities (Walby, 2005). It is vital to understand macroeconomics from a gender view point and to encourage women's participation in economic policy and decision making. To ensure women's economic advance in man agement and the professions, there is a need for organizations to support general empowerment ini tiatives in the ME through the integration of equality principles in HR planning and generaUy through promoting discourses of equality. The expansion of social and professional organizations, supported by business institutions referred to earlier in this paper, would provide opportunities for women to share knowledge and assist women's movement in important business networks. However, it is not just about recruiting and pro moting women in organizations. There is also a need to involve individual women in social and political forums within community networks (Badran, 2005; Langwe, 1997). The globalization of concepts and discourses of human rights, and the activities of women's organizations, NGOs and INGOs have supported the development of transnational feminist networks and as argued in this paper stirred feelings for acquiring new knowledges, new rights and new opportunities. Reaffirming the commitment to women's agency we would stress women be involved as agents of change rather than be recipients (Malhorta et al., 2002). Acquiring knowledge and understand ing of gender relations and the ways inwhich these relations may be changed is important for women to move forward (Moghadam, 2005). Developing a sense of self-worth and a belief in one's ability to secure desired changes and the right to control one's life are skiUs that need to be fostered. Conclusion In this paper we have explored the relationship between women, management and globalization in the ME. Itwas shown that women face social and organizational barriers in the labour market and through gendered organization and cultural practices. In addition women have mobUity restrictions placed on them which limit training and career choice op tions. Sex-segregated work practices as weU as sex segregated social relations inmany Arab societies limit women's potential for advancement in the public sphere. It was also highlighted, however, that women have made significant gains in politics, leadership and management roles of late, and that Arab states were committed to social change and reform, albeit within the framework of an Islamic gender order. A significant factor contributing to women's advance was grassroots women's organizations which had supported women's empowerment through raising literacy levels, making provisions for business pro grammes as well as supporting entrepreneurial development. The difficulties that many women face in theME are similar to other women in many parts of the world. However, there are opportunities and con straints for women attributed to gender within their culture. Both men and women believe that Islam defines gender and family roles and responsibilities and these are taken very seriously. Women's groups, governments and organizations advocate the inter face between the Islamic and universal construction of human rights and stress the family as a foundation of an Islamic state (Badran, 2005; UNIFEM, 2004). The implication is thatWestern experiences may not provide the most appropriate model with which to improve women's economic and social status in the ME. The priorities of western women, day care, abortion rights, higher pay and economic equality with men are of less significance to women who are struggling for elementary rights to vote, to have access to education programmes, to work of any kind and to an end of sexual discrimination. While feminist issues are only now being recognized, reli gion is still an important regulator of everyday life and of a source of female identity. A development model proposed that a difference equality strategy, acknowledging the importance of the family, was the most appropriate way forward to develop women's management and leadership capabilities targeting institutional mechanisms, as weU as women's individual agency. It should be high lighted, however, that an Islamic cultural lens, while This content downloaded from on Wed, 10 Apr 2013 01:33:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  15. 15. 98Beverly Dawn Metcalfe advocating difference between the sexes, should not be linked to ideas of subordination and deference. Islam is an aU-embracing concept depicting human's relationship to God and represents a programme of life (Ahmed, 1998). The analysis presented suggests therefore that we cannot understand the complexity of gender and globalization processes without con necting to broader social and economic changes relating to the rights of women in Islamic nations. Notes These phrases refer to the labour market policies of the Gulf States which aim to graduaUy decrease their reliance on expatriate labour and increase the number of local nationals employed. The GEM - gender empowerment measure is a composite indicator that captures gender inequality in three key areas: Political participation and decision making, as measured by women's and men's percentage shares of parliamentary seats; Economic participation and decision-making power, as measured by two indi cators - women's and men's percentage shares of posi tions as legislators, senior officials and managers and women's and men's percentage shares of professional and technical positions; Power over economic re sources, as measured by women's and men's estimated earned income (UNIFEM, 2004). Two terms are used to refer to law in Islam, Shar'ia and Fiqh. Shar'ia refers to God's divine law detaUed in Qu'ran, Sunnah and the sayings and doings of Moham med (Hadith). Fiqh refers to scholarly efforts to inter pret Shar'ia (Ahmed, 1998). These extracts are taken from Abdel HaUeem's (2004) new English translation of the Qu'ran which is considered exemplary in Islamic scholarship. There is ongoing debate about the definition and measures of empowerment and the generaUy accepted view is that individuals should have the ability to make strategic life choices (Malhorta et al, 2002). References Acker, J.: 1992, 'Gendering Organizational Theory', in A. MiUs and P. Tancred (eds.), Gendering Organiza tionalAnalysis (Sage, London). Acker, J.: 2005, 'Gender, Capitalism and Globalization', Critical Sociology 30(1), 17-41. Acker, J.: 2006, 'Inequality Regimes: Gender, Class and Race in Organizations', Gender and Society 20(4), 441 464. Abdel Halleem, M. A. S.: 2004, The Qur'an: A New Translation (Oxford University Press, Oxford). Adler, N.: 2004, 'Shaping History: Global Leadership in the 21st Century', in H. Scullion and M. Lineham (eds.), International Human Resource Management: A Critical Text (Palgrave, Basingstoke). Ahmed, A. S.: 1998, Islam Today (Tauris Publishers, London, I.B). Al-Lamki, S. M.: 2000, 'Women in the Labour Force in Oman, The Case of the Sultanate of Oman', Interna tionalJournal ofManagement 17(2), 166-17'4. Ali, A.: 1995, 'Cultural Discontinuity in Arab Manage ment Thought', International Studies inManagement and Organization 25(3), 17-30. Ali, A.: 1999, 'Middle East Competitiveness in the 21st Century's Global Market', Academy of Management Executive 13(1), 102-108. Badran, M.: 2005, 'Between Secular and Islamic Femi nism/s: Reflections on the Middle East and Beyond', Journal ofMiddle East Women's Studies 1(1), 6-29. Bahry, L. and P. Marr: 2005, 'Qatari Women: A New Generation of Leaders', Middle East Policy 12(2), 104 130. Basma, S.: 1999, Jordanian Women: Past and Present (Princess Basma's Resource Centre, Amman, Jordan). Budhwar, P. S. and Y. Debrah (eds.): 2004, HRM in Developing Countries (Routledge, London). Budhwar, P., S. Al-Yamedi and Y. Debrah: 2002, 'HRD in the Sultanate of Oman', International Journal of Training andDevelopment 6(3), 198-215. Carter, S. and J. Weeks: 2002, 'Gender and Business Ownership: International Perspectives on Entrepre neurial Theory and Practice', International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation 3(2), 81?82. Center of Arab Women for Training, Research (CAW TAR): 2001, Globalization and Gender: Economic Participation ofArab Women (CAWTAR, Tunis). Davidson, M. J. and R. J. Burke: 2004, Women inMan agement Worldwide, Facts, Figures and Analysis: An Overview (Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot). Dickens, L.: 1997, 'WhatHRM Means for Gender Equal ity', Human Resource Management Journal 8(1), 23-40. Edwards, T. and S. KuruviUa: 2005, 'International HRM: National Business Systems, Organization Politics and the International Division of Labour in MNCs', International Human Resource Management 16, 1?21. Egypt Council for Women: 2006, National Council for Women Strategy, http://www.ncwegypt.com/english/ index.jsp. This content downloaded from on Wed, 10 Apr 2013 01:33:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
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