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Gender-neutral social security crucial for enhancing women’s labour force participation — study 

By Maria Weldali - Sep 24,2022 - Last updated at Sep 24,2022

AMMAN — Gender-neutral social security is key to increasing women’s labour participation, according to a study.

A research on gender gap in social security, conducted by JoWomenomics through the Feminist Integrated Centre for Research and Innovation (FICRI), said that there is disparity in entitlements of rights between women covered under the social security system and those covered under the Civil Service Retirement system.

The research focused on outlining linkages between women’s economic participation and a feminist economy with social security, and identifying “best” global practices and interventions to ensure social protection, uses interpretative research methods to impact the social discourse in realistic ways.

Examining legal, social and economic barriers hindering women’s economic participation, the research showed that unequal pay is among the main challenges facing women in Jordan. 

Women working in Jordan’s private sector earn 40 per cent less than their male counterparts and those working in the public sector earn 28 per cent less than their male counterparts, according to the research.

The research also showed that “social barriers that hinder women’s ability and willingness to work in Jordan centre around her role as someone who should take care of the family”. 

It added that women’s economic participation is interlinked to social norms, mindsets and policy restrictions.

“Social security laws in Jordan are unclear. On top of that some societal values consider that security and protection are primarily given from the family and husband, without even considering the importance of having a strong social security system that is provided by the government,” sociologist Hussein Khozahe told The Jordan Times on Saturday.

According to Khozahe, spouses of 24 per cent of women in Jordan are unemployed, while 78 per cent of females that hold higher education degrees are unemployed. 

On the same note, he said that the reason women entrepreneurship is low is because social barriers always leave women in a position that makes them feel scared to venture into creating entrepreneurial projects.

Speaking with The Jordan Times, Shayma Awad, who provides life and entrepreneurship coaching, said that “women are the ones who are less likely to be economically active, which automatically makes them more exposed to poverty”.

She added that it is essential to have gender-neutral social security, which would be achieved through women receiving equal pay like their counterparts.

 

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