© 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.This paper considers female labor force participation (FLFP) behavior over the past two decades in two MENA (Middle East and North Africa) countries, namely Egypt and Palestine. Low FLFP rates in these countries, as in other MENA countries, are well documented. We conduct synthetic panel analysis using age–period–cohort (APC) methodology and decompose the FLFP rates into age, period, and cohort effects. We present our results with Hanoch–Honig–Deaton–Paxson normalization and maximum entropy estimation approaches to the APC method to observe the robustness of our results. The analysis is carried out by aggregate FLFP as well as by stratification by rural–urban location and educational attainments. Most of our results are similar in Egypt and Palestine with some exceptions. The two salient findings are as follows. The year effects display an initial U-shape followed by an inverted U-shape in both countries. The declining arm of the inverted U-shape is compatible with the “MENA paradox” observed in both countries. The increase in the participation of the younger cohorts of the below-secondary educated women, which is a low-educated group, may be an indication of the wearing away of the social norms in Palestine that are considered to hinder the participation of women.