FinEquity Blog

PEER REVIEW: Arab Barometer

We hosted a Peer Review on behalf of FinEquity member Arab Barometer.
Arab Barometer

The Arab Barometer is a nonpartisan research network, hosted at Princeton University, which provides insight into the social, political, and economic attitudes and values of people across the Arab world. They have been conducting high quality and reliable public opinion surveys in the MENA region since 2006 and make the data publicly available (free of charge) on their website. The Arab Barometer is currently updating its survey for the next Wave 6 data collection across nine countries in the region. As part of this process, FinEquity convened a select group of its members interested in the intersection of gender data and social norms around women’s economic participation and entrepreneurship to provide feedback and suggestions on the tool.

Members present included:

  • Jonna Lundvall, World Bank, DC
  • Nisha Singh, FinEquity SN WG, DC
  • Eleanor Dickens, IPA, DC
  • Lis Meyers, Nathan Associates, DC
  • Tess Perselay, Nathan Associates, DC
  • Maureen Kwilasa, KIT Netherlands
  • Abel Motsomi, FMT, South Africa
  • Nadine Chahade, CGAP, Beirut
  • Allison Salyer, USAID, DC
  • Grant Roberston, FinMark Trust, South Africa
  • Deena Burjorjee, FinEquity, New York
  • Yasmin Bin Humam, CGAP, DC

The Arab Barometer team was represented by Michael Robbins, Project Director, as well as Research Specialists Aseel Alayli and Salma Al Shami. The team shared the main findings from the latest wave of surveys as they relate to opinions regarding women’s roles in society, with a specific focus on the economic sphere. Details can be found here:

Infographic 1: What Arabs think about the status of women in society

Infographic 2: Opinion on Arab women and political power

Report: Women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa

The results showed that attitudes on women’s rights versus women’s roles are progressing at different rates in the region. However, this uneven progression is not exclusively linked to socio-religious norms or gender biases and may be more endemic to system-wide economic problems. FinEquity members made suggestions for expanding the group of questions around women’s economic participation to include a closer examination of attitudes around women’s entrepreneurship.

While the Arab Barometer has certain operational constraints around how far it can expand its data set based on stakeholder demand, the Team was appreciative to receive concrete suggestions from the group and was open to exploring the option of a battery of questions around women’s entrepreneurship should a critical mass around the topic arise.

We at FinEquity, think these meetings are a great way to bring together a divergent set of views on new and evolving workstreams and to create awareness on valuable resources that can help inform our work on women’s financial inclusion.

If you would like to know more about this peer review process or have a document or initiative you would like to present to the COP community, feel free to reach out to Deena Burjorjee at

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