American University of Beirut

The SAWI Project

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​WHY SAWI?​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Women in the region face structural barriers at the workplace. These barriers manifest in the weak policies for women's recruitment, retention, and promotion. Women get turned down from positions they aspire for or may not even apply at all to jobs in male dominated professions. Working women also tend to hold on to their jobs but retention is not equated with workplace wellbeing and work-life balance. Women also are barely represented in senior and decision-making positions. We know these facts and we measured them in the KIP Index ​using surveys from employers, we also captured women's voices and perceptions in the Lived Experience Index.

Women should not bear the burdens on their own. Employers and Human Resource managers can play a role in facilitating women's access to jobs they deserve, improve workplace wellbeing, and increase women's rates of promotion to top positions.   

SAWI Project, which stands for “Support and Accelerate Women's Inclusion", has established a transnational network of employers to develop, improve, and implement inclusive policies and practices for better recruitment, retention, and promotion of women. Together with our partners, we will work towards national action plans for the dignified and sustainable inclusion of women in formal economies across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

SAWI is operating in Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia. Against all odds, our network of trailblazing employers are championing inclusive policies.

Women's dignified careers and workplace wellbeing is important for economic growth, social development, and women's lives. Join us, in refusing to sit and wait, our multi-stakeholder partnerships and evidence-based approaches can successfully accelerate women's inclusion. 



> Inclusive strategies for Recruitment, Retention, and Promotion (RRP)​ of women in the MENA region.

> Gender Lens Investing (GLI)​ investment processes and structures to advance women's inclusion in the workforce.


To accelerate SAWI's pace of change, we will:

> Work with a multi-disciplinary team of activists, scholars, and professionals to develop inclusive recruitment, retention and promotion policies
Learn and interact with our Country Partners who are building networks, collecting data, and reaching out to decision-makers.
Learn how to apply the recommendations from the KIP index and Lived Experiences index in your organization
Join a growing network of employers and decision-makers in the public, private, and non-profit sectors leading ​inclusive policy change in the region ​


SAWI Regional Roadmap for Workplace Inclusion Event

The SAWI project completed a two-year phase of collaborative work with country partners and employers in eight countries (Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia) and four sectors (banking, healthcare, higher education and STEM) to draft inclusive human resource policies and practices.

On May 31, an online event was held to celebrate this major milestone including panel discussions with international and regional speakers about the roadmap for accelerating women’s inclusion in the MENA region, success stories, challenges, and a pledge for a sustainable future.

Learn more about the SAWI Regional Roadmap for Inclusive Workplaces online event here.



The 2022 International Women's Day is the time to join forces for more inclusive workplace policies and more equitable economies.


#ChooseToChallenge Campaign

Commemorating 2021 International Women's Day by chosing to challenge the barriers to women's dignified economic participation. 

Maternity and Paternity at Work

​Recognizing with gratitude on the 2021 Mother's Day the unpaid carework done disproportionately by mothers around the world. A video was launched on social media as a call for employers across the region to adopt parental leaves and support a world where carework is valued and supported as work for all genders.​

Labor Laws campaign​

To mark 2021 Labor Day, a labor law campaign was implemented focusing on the larger strides needed to ensure equitable recruitment, retention & promotion of women in the labor force in the region, despite some amendments introduced in labor laws to enhance women’s economic participation in the MENA.


The SAWI project was made possible through generous funding of the US State Department and the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).​


Our milestones have been made possible thanks to the partners we have worked with in eight countries (Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia)These partnerships are critical to the building and delivery of an inclusive culture in the region.


This project is led by:
Dr. Charlotte Karam Ph.D. - Principal Investigator - Director of International Partnerships, and Founding Director (2018-2021), CIBL for Women and Adjunct Professor | Endowed Professor in Inclusive Systems, Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa.
> Dr. Lama Moussawi Ph.D. - Principal Investigator - CIBL Co-founder - ​CIBL Director, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development, Tenured Professor of Management Science | American University of Beirut(AUB)-  Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB).
> ​Dr. Wassim Dbouk ​Ph.D. - Co-Principal Investigator - CIBL Co-founder, Associate Professor of Finance, Director of the Investment Management Program at OSB ​| American University of Beirut(AUB)-  Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB).
>​ ​Dr. Carmen Geha Ph.D. - Co-Principal Investigator - CIBL Co-founder, Associate Professor of Public Administration​ ​| American University of Beirut(AUB).

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