BEIRUT: The American University of Beirut (AUB) will be launching a groundbreaking program for the first index measuring the economic contributions and challenges faced by women across the MENA region.
This comes after the recent award of a $1.5 million federal grant by the US Department of State Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) for gender economic study.
The MEPI grant will fund the project, entitled “The KIP Index: A Comparison of the Status of Women in the MENA Economies,” as the inaugural women in business program of the Center for Inclusive Business and Leadership (CIBL) being established at the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB).
The university recognizes the CIBL as a place for action research aimed at engaging decision-makers and other key stakeholders in building inclusive workplace practices in the Arab MENA. The primary goal of CIBL is to further develop business and leadership skills of women, and to support the institutionalization of more inclusive business systems across the region, the school said in a statement. The current project builds on earlier work and momentum created by the KIP Project, which was led by Dr. Charlotte Karam at OSB.
“We are particularly honored that the (new) project will have a regional and international advisory board comprised of renowned scholars and practitioners that can provide invaluable input throughout the project. It is a unique milestone in AUB’s efforts to promote indigenous dialogue on gender equality across the region drawing, as a first step, on the unique and combined talents from different faculties, programs, and research agendas at AUB and then reaching out across borders and boundaries,” Dr. Karam said.
Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB)
The KIP Index project will run for 18 months and will involve data collection across 11 countries. AUB will develop new partnerships with key private sector, public sector, and civil society stakeholders in order to carry out in-depth research on the experiences of women in the formal economies of the region. With the broader aim of using the KIP Index to create policy change, the project is led by a multidisciplinary team of experts and scholars with a commitment to advancing gender equity in the region.
The KIP Index will be led and directed by Dr. Karam as the Principal Investigator and a collaborative team of co-principal investigators comprised of Dr. Fida Afiouni, Dr. Wassim Dbouk and Dr. Lama Moussawi from OSB, Dr. Fadia Homeidan from the Office of Grants and Contracts and Center for Research and Innovation, and Dr. Carmen Geha from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at AUB.
The KIP Index will seek university-wide efforts, resources, and expertise to address the question of the role of women in Arab economies from a multidisciplinary perspective. The project will also aim at creating and sustaining a regional dialogue on promoting policy change towards the effective recruitment, retention, and promotion of women in the workforce.
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