IMPACT OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES ON WOMEN'S ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT IN MENA REGION
The focus on ICT as means of empowering women has gained momentum. Their potential is paralleled by their rapid development that extends into all aspects of life. Conducting our analysis on aggregate macroeconomic data taken from the World Bank database, we deploy an econometric panel data approach to capture the impact of ICT on women's economic empowerment in 18 MENA countries between 2000 and 2019, using ARDL panel estimates. The results reveal the existence of a long-term cointegrating relationship between the variables. In addition, the impact of all the variables is significant in the long run, while in the short run their impact is not significant. Mobile phone subscriptions and internet users have a positive impact in the long run; however, fixed telephone subscriptions and fixed broadband subscriptions have a negative impact.
Keywords: Women's Economic Empowerment, ICT, Digital Divide, Gender Equality, Panel ARDL.