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COVID and Gender in the Middle East

COVID and Gender in the Middle East

A comprehensive study of the gendered economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Middle East and North Africa.

February 2023
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304 pages | 6 x 9 | 2 b&w photos |

As the coronavirus ravages the globe, its aftermaths have brought gender inequalities to the forefront of many conversations. Countries in the Middle East and North Africa have been slow to prepare for, adapt to, and mitigate the COVID-19 health crisis and its impacts on governance, economics, security, and social roles. Women’s physical well-being, social safety nets, and economic participation have been disproportionately affected, and with widespread shutdowns and capricious social welfare programs, they are exiting the workplace and the classroom, carrying the caregiving burden.

With feminist foregrounding, Rita Stephan's collection COVID and Gender in the Middle East gathers an impressive group of local scholars, activists, and policymakers. The book examines a range of national and localized responses to gender-specific issues around COVID’s health impact and the economic fallout and resulting social vulnerabilities, including the magnified marginalization of Syrian refugees; the inequitable treatment of migrant workers in Bahrain; and the inadequate implementation of anti-domestic violence legislation in Morocco. An essential global resource, this book is the first to provide empirical evidence of COVID’s gendered effects.


Rita Stephan is a research fellow at North Carolina State University and the Regional Coordinator for Religious and Ethnic Minorities at USAID. She is the coeditor of In Line with the Divine: The Struggle for Gender Equality in Lebanon and Women Rising: In the Arab Spring and Beyond.