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Gender gap: Disposable income of Mideast women $3,300 lower than men

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Women in the Middle East and North Africa have $3,300 less disposable income than men, marking one of the largest financial gender gaps in the world, according to a recent study by Euromonitor International.

In 2012, the average annual disposable income for men was $4,990 versus $1,629 for women, said the report.

“The main factor is the low rate of female employment in the region. In 2012, the female employment rate in GCC countries was only 44 percent of the economically active female population,” Euromonitor analyst An Hodgson told Al Arabiya.

But the situation could be set to change as levels of education improve, the report noted.

The literacy rate among females in the GCC aged 15 and above rose to 85.7 percent in 2012 from 82.1 percent in 2007, it found.

“This is helping more women continue into tertiary education and get better paid, higher status jobs,” added Hodgson.

The report also analyzed the general pay distribution across Asia and Africa.

Bahrain is the most equal, with a ‘Gini coefficient’ of 0.366 in 2012 – while South Africa the most unequal with a coefficient of 0.636, the Euromonitor report found.

The Gini coefficient measures the income distribution of a country’s residents, with a scale ranging from 0 indicating perfect equality, to 1 showing perfect inequality.