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The Role of Women in Aged Care: Perspectives on Ageing and Gender in the MENA Region Dr Shereen Hussein Senior Research Fellow King’s College London.

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Presentation on theme: "The Role of Women in Aged Care: Perspectives on Ageing and Gender in the MENA Region Dr Shereen Hussein Senior Research Fellow King’s College London."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Role of Women in Aged Care: Perspectives on Ageing and Gender in the MENA Region Dr Shereen Hussein Senior Research Fellow King’s College London

2 Presentation structure Overview of the MENA region: Similarities and differences Population Ageing as a policy issue in MENA Current aged care model in the region Competing demands and women role in aged care provisions – Demographic and population trends focus on nuptiality, co- residency and labour participation trends Viability of MENA current aged care model Call for integrated age and gender social policy development 03/12/2013Institute for Policy Research - Beyond International Security - Univeristy of Bath2

3 The Middle East and North Africa:.. How similar? Lies at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia The birthplace of civilization and the three great monotheistic religions of the world 22 countries Share similar language (Arabic in the majority) Share very similar cultural norms based on religious/spiritual beliefs – governing family roles and ties- influencing both women and the aged Some geographical coherence with sub-groups – Arab Asia (Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Yemen) – Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates) – North Africa (Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti, Comoros) 03/12/2013Institute for Policy Research - Beyond International Security - Univeristy of Bath3

4 The Middle East and North Africa:.. How different? Huge variability in: – Poverty and per capita income – Population size – Literacy and unemployment rates – Migration, geographical mobility, co-residency arrangements and other socio-economic and socio- demographic characteristics While all experience some forms of demographic and nuptiality transition – Fertility: some at or near replacement levels, in others high fertility persist – At different tempo and stage 03/12/2013Institute for Policy Research - Beyond International Security - Univeristy of Bath4

5 Population Ageing in the MENA region Population ageing is relatively a recent phenomenon in the region – traditional higher fertility rates  slower pace of population ageing in other developing countries Different degrees of population ageingbut all on the same road – More rapid population ageing is expected, by 2050 proportion of older persons projected to reach 19% Gender life-expectancy differences 03/12/2013Institute for Policy Research - Beyond International Security - Univeristy of Bath5

6 Population Ageing as a Policy Issue in the Region The region has historically shown a strong commitment to social welfare – Post independence – Majority linked to employment E.g. pensions and retirement schemes, however, favouring public sector and can be regarded as gender biased – Universal health and education service but actual delivery is relatively poor in most countries No ‘formal’ aged policy strategic vision – However some recent attention to the phenomenon in recent policy discussions 03/12/2013Institute for Policy Research - Beyond International Security - Univeristy of Bath6

7 Ageing is not a ‘major’ policy concern for the majority of countries in the region 03/12/2013Institute for Policy Research - Beyond International Security - Univeristy of Bath7

8 Aged-care model in the region Mainly a family-based model – Embedded within religious beliefs and duty of care to the elder – A two way beneficial model – Gender imbalance of expectations of financial, physical, emotional and personal care Absence of formal long term care provision – With limited availability and use of residential care Charitable (voluntary) sector is an important provider of social activities for the elderly – mainly religion based Women play a pivotal role in sustaining this model A model based on certain assumptions around family structure and women’s availability sustained by strong cultural and religious ideology – Challenged through another set of demographic changes 03/12/2013Institute for Policy Research - Beyond International Security - Univeristy of Bath8

9 Women competing demands A sea of demographic and social change !! Family formation – Age at marriage, celibacy rates, marriage dissolution, marriage patterns and types of contracts …. ‘marriage revolution’ – Spousal choice and co-residency after marriage Migration – Geographical proximity – Married women as female-headed households: new responsibilities, financial involvements, decision making etc. Urbanisation – Co-residency & geographical proximity Education and labour participation Overall women status and societal/political involvement 03/12/2013Institute for Policy Research - Beyond International Security - Univeristy of Bath9

10 Nuptiality trends: Age at first marriage CountrySource and yearMedian age at first marriage (female) EgyptDHS 1988 DHS 1992 DHS 1995 DHS MoroccoDHS 1987 DHS 1992 DHS 2003/ SudanDHS Saudi ArabiaMCHS TunisiaDHS JordonPFHS 1990 PFHS YemenDHS 1992 DHS /12/2013Institute for Policy Research - Beyond International Security - Univeristy of Bath10

11 03/12/2013Institute for Policy Research - Beyond International Security - Univeristy of Bath11 Source: Hussein (2002)

12 Nuptiality trends: Marriage stability Marriage stability measured by different elements – Marriage dissolution Divorce and widowhood – unclear direction of trend – Duration of marriage – divorce usually occur in early years – Remarriage rates – very low overall, except in some countries (e.g. Morocco) Influenced by other nuptiality elements including: – Marriage contracts – Consanguinity and polygyny – Inter-spousal age and educational gaps – Observed changes in all the above Affect women on a number of ways – Female headed-household – Welfare – Financial and social status 03/12/2013Institute for Policy Research - Beyond International Security - Univeristy of Bath12

13 03/12/2013Institute for Policy Research - Beyond International Security - Univeristy of Bath13 Source: El-Saadani (Undated)

14 03/12/2013Institute for Policy Research - Beyond International Security - Univeristy of Bath14 Marriage dissolution, due to divorce, working for cash and education – not a consistence relationship Example 1: Tunisia Source: Hussein (2002)

15 03/12/2013Institute for Policy Research - Beyond International Security - Univeristy of Bath15 Marriage dissolution, working for cash and education – not a consistence relationship Example 2 Morocco Source: Hussein (2002)

16 03/12/2013Institute for Policy Research - Beyond International Security - Univeristy of Bath16 Marriage dissolution, working for cash and education – not a consistence relationship Example 3 Egypt

17 Husband selection and co-residency 03/12/2013Institute for Policy Research - Beyond International Security - Univeristy of Bath17

18 03/12/2013Institute for Policy Research - Beyond International Security - Univeristy of Bath18 Women labour-force participation

19 Viability of current family-based care model Assumes a certain family and societal structure Women are key players in providing care Other demographic and social changes challenging such structure on a number of ways: – Family unit availability and ability to provide increasing care – Competing demands on women time, emotional strengths, and finance Lack of vision to link with existing charitable and societal activities Includes risk elements: Lack of awareness of old age care needs including dementia and associated risks Lack capacity building 03/12/2013Institute for Policy Research - Beyond International Security - Univeristy of Bath19

20 Ageing and gender issues go hand-in- hand An opportunity to develop a policy direction that integrates both ageing and gender issues Women over represented in the ageing population Women main providers of aged care, and will continue to be Need for wider policy support for women to enable their pivotal role in aged care – at different levels including employment, respite care, flexible working conditions, recognition of increased duties Develop policy that enables the family, community and the state to support and maintain aged care in a complementary (not substitution) structure 03/12/2013Institute for Policy Research - Beyond International Security - Univeristy of Bath20

21 Thank you for listening /12/2013Institute for Policy Research - Beyond International Security - Univeristy of Bath21


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