Assessing Networks as Engines of Social Change for Women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region: A Focus on Women’s Entrepreneurship Efforts
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
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Efforts are being made in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to increase the educational attainment of women and reduce gender inequalities. However, this has not translated into an increase in economic participation of women in the region, an incidence labeled by the World Bank as the “MENA paradox.” A closer look at the tools used to enhance the capacities of female entrepreneurs in this part of the world is required. The third sector plays a significant role in helping empower women in the MENA region. One way this occurs is through networks made up of different NGOs. However, these NGO networks are under-investigated due to their fluid nature. There is consensus among scholars of the importance of networks, though there is a lack of understanding as to how exposure to network activities is related to building the capacity of network members. This study is based on the theory that networks enhance the capacities of female entrepreneurs in the MENA region. A mixed methods approach is used to assess the relationship between exposure to NGO networks and increased capacities of female members of networks in the MENA region. Tools of data collection include an online survey instrument and semi-structured interviews with members of NGO networks. The study examines four networks in the MENA region. Non-probability purposive sampling is utilized. Bivariate analysis is used in the quantitative analysis to understand the relationship between exposure to network functions and perceived capacities of members. The qualitative portion of this study used structured focused comparison of selected interview cases.