Gender Dynamic: Examining Public Opinion Data in Light of Covid-19 Crisis


  • The under-representation of female leadership in the Covid-19 responses hurts girls and women in the Arab world who are uniquely impacted by this humanitarian crisis.
  • Citizens’ bias plays a role in the lack of women occupying high-rank political leadership positions. And, especially during times of crisis, citizens want to see a leader that they can trust to take charge and to make the tough decisions.
  • How do we get more women into top political positions and what might help change citizens’ perceptions of women capabilities as political leaders?
  • AB data shows that citizens’ education level doesn’t change their perceptions of women’s capabilities to lead in public life. Other mechanisms might play a role: gender quota and the role model effect.
  • Perhaps, Gender Quotas might help to expedite the change; to achieve gender-equal representation in political leadership and to create female role models in politics.
  • College educated women create a ripple effect which can help in breaking the cycle of economic hardship and gender inequality.
  •  Across MENA, women with a technical or a university degree have better chances of securing a job, make a difference for their families’ economic security and are more likely to have more independence in household- decision making.
  • Corona pandemic might unravel the limited progress that we have seen in terms of gender equality, women’s participation in the workforce and positive attitudes towards some women’s rights and their roles in society in the Arab world.
  • 67% of citizens in MENA say that men should be more entitled to a job rather than a woman when jobs are scarce- this data is from World Values Survey that was conducted between 2010-2014.
  • It is crucial is to ensure that access to learning is a top priority for girls and women in MENA. Otherwise, the loss of education due to the corona pandemic will most likely reverse the previously mentioned gains and progress. And, this will ultimately impact the lives of girls and women in the Arab world for generations.
  • Another challenge facing many women in the Arab world that have been exacerbated as a result of the extended lockdown, is domestic violence.
  • Arab Barometer’s public opinion survey conducted between 2018-2019 shows that domestic violence is relatively high in Yemen (26%), followed by Morocco (25%), and Egypt (23%). And the lowest households of domestic violence are in Libya at 7% , and in Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia at 6%.
  • When domestic abuse exists, Lebanon topped the countries where women were the victims at 82%, followed by Egypt at 72% and Morocco at 71%, while the lowest percentage of women victims of abuse was reported in Libya at 34% and Yemen at 30%.
  • Domestic violence is still considered a private family matter in Arab countries.
  • Only in Lebanon, do the majority of women victims report domestic violence to the local police (49 percent).