Gender Equality and Corporate Social Responsibility in the Middle East

  • Nicolina Kamenou-AigbekaenEmail author


This chapter focuses on corporate social responsibility (CSR) in relation to gender equality in the Arab Middle East. It examines the relationship between CSR and gender in the workplace whilst exploring the link between CSR and human resource management (HRM) policies and practices. The chapter first presents some seminal work on gender equality and diversity management, looking at the business case for gender equality within the CSR and HRM contexts, before engaging with relevant work on gender equality in the Arab Middle East. It concludes by offering recommendations on advancing the equality agenda at the macro- and meso-levels, within a framework which recognises the centrality of agency of women, as well as the potential of positive changes through corporations being seen as ‘agents of change’. The chapter advocates for organisational and governmental policies to promote gender equality in the Arab Middle East.


CSR Middle East Gender HRM Women 


  1. Acker, J. (2006). Inequality regimes: Gender, class, and race in organizations. Gender and Society, 20(4), 441–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Afiouni, F. (2014). Women’s careers in the Arab Middle East: Understanding institutional constraints to the boundaryless career view. Career Development International, 19(3), 314–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Al Ariss, A., & Syed, J. (2011). Capital mobilization of skilled migrants: A relational perspective. British Journal of Management, 22, 286–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Al Dajani, H. (2010). Diversity and inequality among women in employment in the Arab Middle East region: A new research agenda. In M. Ozbilgin & J. Syed (Eds.), Managing gender diversity in Asia. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  5. Al-Hamadi, A. B., Budhwar, P. S., & Shipton, H. (2007). Management of human resources in Oman. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 18(1), 100–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Alhejji, H., Ng, E. S., Garavan, T., & Carbery, R. (2016). The impact of formal and informal distance on gender equality approaches: The case of a British MNC in Saudi Arabia. Thunderbird International Business Review, 60(2), 147–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bear, S., Rahman, N., & Post, C. (2010). The impact of board diversity and gender composition on corporate social responsibility and firm reputation. Journal of Business Ethics, 97, 207–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bergeron, S. (2001). Political economy discourses of globalization and feminist politics. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 26(4), 983–1006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Boulouta, I. (2013). Hidden connections: The link between board gender diversity and corporate social performance. Journal of Business Ethics, 113(2), 185–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bradley, H., Healy, G., & Mukherjee, N. (2005). Multiple burdens: Problems of work-life balance for ethnic minority trade union activist women. In D. Houston (Ed.), Work-life balance in the 21st century. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  11. Buckley, P. J., Enderwick, P., & Cross, A. D. (2018). International business. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Cockburn, C. (1989). Equal opportunities: The short and long agenda. Industrial Relations Journal, 20(3), 213–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cockburn, C. (1991). In the way of women: Men’s resistance to sex equality in organisations. Basingstoke: The Macmillan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Collinson, D., Knights, D., & Collinson, M. (1990). Managing to discriminate. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Crenshaw, K. (1989). Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: A black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist and antiracist politics. In University of Chicago legal forum 139–67. Reprinted in Kairys, D. (ed.). The politics of law: A progressive critique (pp. 195–217). New York: Pantheon.Google Scholar
  16. Daily, C. M., & Dalton, D. R. (2003). Women in the boardroom: A business imperative. Journal of Business Strategy, 24(5), 8–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dale, A. (2005). Combining family and employment: Evidence from Pakistani and Bangladeshi women. In D. Houston (Ed.), Work-life balance in the 21st century. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  18. Dickens, L. (1994a). Wasted resources? Equal opportunities in employment. In K. Sisson (Ed.), Personnel management: A comprehensive guide to theory and practice in Britain. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  19. Dickens, L. (1994b). The business case for equal opportunities: Is the carrot better than the stick? Employee Relations, 16(8), 5–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dickens, L. (1998). What HRM means for gender equality. Human Resource Management Journal, 8(1), 23–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dickens, L. (1999). Beyond the business case: A three-pronged approach to equality action. Human Resource Management Journal, 9(1), 9–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Donaldson, T., & Preston, L. E. (1995). The stakeholder theory of the corporation: Concepts, evidence, and implications. Academy of Management Review, 20(1), 65–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Eagly, A. H., Johannesen-Schmidt, M. C., & van Engen, M. L. (2003). Transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership styles: A meta-analysis comparing women and men. Psychological Bulletin, 129(4), 569–591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Eagly, A. H., & Johnson, B. T. (1990). Gender and leadership style: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 108(2), 233–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fearfull, A., & Kamenou, N. (2006). How do you account for it?: A critical exploration of career opportunities for and experiences of ethnic minority women. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 17(7), 883–901.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gond, J. P., Igalens, J., Swaen, V., & El Akremi, A. (2011). The human resources contribution to responsible leadership: An exploration of the CSR-HR interface. Journal of Business Ethics, 98, 115–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Healy, G., Bradley, J., & Mukherjee, N. (2004). Inspiring activists: The experiences of minority ethnic women in trade unions. In G. Healy, E. Heery, P. Taylor, & W. Brown (Eds.), The future of worker representation. London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  28. Hutchings, K., Metcalfe, B. D., & Cooper, B. K. (2010). Exploring Arab Middle Eastern women’s perceptions of barriers to, and facilitators of, international management opportunities. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 21(1), 61–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jamali, D., Karam, C., Yin, J., & Soundararajan, V. (2017). CSR logics in developing countries: Translation, adaptation and stalled development. Journal of World Business, 52(3), 343–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jenkins, R. (1986). Racism and recruitment: Managers, organisation and equal opportunity in the labour market. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Jewson, N., & Mason, D. (1986). The theory and practice of equal opportunities policies: Liberal and radical approaches. The Sociological Review, 34(2), 307–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jewson, N., Mason, D., Waters, S., & Harvey, J. (1990). Ethnic minorities and employment, Research paper, no. 76. London: Department of Employment.Google Scholar
  33. Kamenou, N., Netto, G., & Fearfull, A. (2013). Ethnic minority women in the Scottish Labour Market: Employers’ perceptions. British Journal of Management, 24(3), 398–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kamenou, N. (2008). ‘Reconsidering work-life balance debates: Challenging limited understandings of the ‘life’ component in the context of ethnic minority women’s experiences’, special issue on gender in management: New theoretical perspectives. British Journal of Management, 19(1), 99–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kamenou, N., & Fearfull, A. (2006). Ethnic minority women: A lost voice in HRM. Human Resource Management Journal, 16(2), 154–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Karam, C., & Jamali, D. (2013). Gendering CSR in the Arab Middle East: An institutional perspective. Business Ethics Quarterly, 23(1), 31–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kirton, G., & Greene, A. M. (2006). The discourse of diversity in unionised contexts: Views from trade union equality officers. Personnel Review, 35, 431–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Liff, S. (1989). Assessing equal opportunities policies. Personnel Review, 18(1), 27–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Liff, S. (1995). Equal opportunities: Continuing discrimination in a context of formal equality. In P. Edwards (Ed.), Industrial relations: Theory and practice in Britain. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd.Google Scholar
  40. Liff, S. (1997). Two routes to managing diversity: Individual differences or social group characteristics. Employee Relations, 19(1), 11–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Liff, S. (1999). Diversity and equal opportunities: Room for a constructive compromise? Human Resource Management Journal, 9(1), 65–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Mead, G. H. (1934). Mind, self and society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  43. Metcalfe, B. D. (2011). Women, empowerment and development in Arab Gulf States: A critical appraisal of governance, culture and national human resource development (HRD) frameworks. Human Resource Development International, 14(2), 131–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Metcalfe, B. D. (2010). Reflecting on difference: Women, Islamic feminisms and development in the Middle East. In J. Syed & M. Ozgilbin (Eds.), Diversity management in Asia. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  45. Metcalfe, B. D., Hutchins, K., & Cooper, B. (2009). Re-examining women’s international management development experience and opportunities: A Middle East perspective. In K. Ibeh (Ed.), Contemporary challenges in international business. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  46. Miller, D. (1996). Equality management – Towards a materialist approach. Gender, Work and Organization, 3(4), 202–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Moghadam, V. M. (2013). Women, work and family in the Arab region: Toward economic citizenship. DIFI Family Research and Proceedings: Vol. 2013, Special issue on “Protecting the Arab Family from Poverty: Employment, social integration and intergenerational solidarity”, 7. Accessed 13 Apr 2018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Moghadam, V. M. (1999). Gender and globalization: Female labor and women’s mobilization. Journal of World-Systems Research, 5(2), 366–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Morrison, J. (2011). The global business environment: Meeting the challenges. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Noon, M. (2010). The shackled runner: Time to rethink positive discrimination? Work, Employment and Society, 24, 728–739.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Plantenga, D. (2004). Gender, identity, and diversity: Learning from insights gained in transformative gender training. Gender and Development, 12(1), 40–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Pletzer, J. L., Nikolova, R., Kedzior, K. K., & Voelpel, S. C. (2015). Does gender matter? Female representation on corporate boards and firm financial performance – A meta-analysis. PLoS One, 10(6), e0130005. Accessed 4 July 2018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Post, C., & Byron, K. (2015). Women on boards and firm financial performance: A meta-analysis. Academy of Management Journal, 58(5), 1546–1571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Rai, S. (2004). Gendering global governance. International Feminist Journal of Politics, 6(4), 579–601.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Rudman, L. A., & Glick, P. (2001). Prescriptive gender stereotypes and backlash toward agentic women. Journal of Social Issues, 57(4), 743–762.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Syed, J. (2010). An historical perspective on Islamic modesty and its implications for female employment. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 29(2), 150–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Syed, J., & Metcalfe, B. (2017). Under western eyes: A transnational and postcolonial perspective of gender and HRD. Human Resource Development International, 20(5), 403–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Syed, J., Ali, F., & Winstanley, D. (2005). In pursuit of modesty: Contextual emotional labor and the dilemma for working women in Islamic societies. International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion, 1(2), 150–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Tatli, A. (2011). A multi-layered exploration of the diversity management field: Diversity discourses, practices and practitioners in the UK. British Journal of Management, 22(2), 238–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Tatli, A., & Ozbilgin, M. (2009). Understanding diversity managers’ role in organizational change: Towards a conceptual framework. Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, 26, 244–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Terjesen, S., Sealy, R., & Singh, V. (2009). Women directors on corporate boards: A review and research agenda. Corporate Governance: An International Review, 17(3), 320–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Voegtlin, C., & Greenwood, M. (2016). Corporate social responsibility and human resource management: A systematic review and conceptual analysis. Human Resource Management Review, 26, 181–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Walby, S. (2009). Globalization and inequalities: Complexity and contested modernities. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  64. Webb, J., & Liff, S. (1988). Play the white man: The social construction of fairness and competition in equal opportunity policies. The Sociological Review, 36(3), 532–551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wilson, E. M., & Iles, P. A. (1999). Managing diversity – An employment and service delivery challenge. The International Journal of Public Sector Management, 12(1), 27–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. World Bank Group. (2016). Women, business and the law. Accessed 10 Mar 2018.
  67. World Economic Forum. (2016). Global gender cap report. Accessed 15 Mar 2018.
  68. Wright Mills, C. (1953). Character and social structure. New York: Harcourt, Brace.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of BusinessZayed UniversityDubaiUnited Arab Emirates

Personalised recommendations