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Labour minister stresses women’s inclusion role in sustainable development

By Maria Weldali - Mar 08,2024 - Last updated at Mar 08,2024

AMMAN — Minister of Labour Nadia Rawabdeh said on Thursday that the support of women’s inclusion in all economic sectors is a necessity for building inclusive economies and achieving sustainable development. 

The minister’s remarks came during JoWomenomics conference, an event dedicated to supporting change makers in the feminist economy.  She said that “promoting women’s active participation and significant contributions across all economic sectors is a fundamental requirement for achieving robust and sustainable development”. 

She also noted that International Women’s Day, celebrated annually on March 8, is a symbol of respect and recognition for women’s accomplishments.

The minister also noted that the Economic Modernisation Vision has identified women’s participation in the labour market as a key pillar for economic growth, calling for enhancing the working environment parameters to increase women’s economic inclusion by up to 28 per cent over the next decade.

During the conference, which was held in cooperation with the Feminist Integrated Centre for Research and Innovation, JoWomenomic launched its latest feminist research report titled “Women’s Voice and Leadership: The Impact of the Changes to the Labour Law on Women’s Rights in the Workplace in Jordan”. The report documents the impact of the most recent amendments to the Labour Law relating to women’s rights in the workplace.

To ensure a comprehensive reflection of women’s voices and experiences, JoWomenomics collaborated with 20 feminist community leaders from Irbid, Southern Shouneh and Amman, aiming to spotlight women’s lived experiences, supported by a feminist research framework.

The feminist report, funded by Oxfam and part of JoWomenomics’ project aimed at eliminating harmful gender norms, disclosed some societal barriers to women’s participation in all economic sectors.

The conference featured two discussion sessions that explored the influence of community leaders in fostering a safe working environment free from sexual harassment and the impact of community leadership in empowering community growth by ensuring equal opportunities for women.

JoWomenomics also launched its campaign titled “Our Awareness is Important” during the conference, aimed at spreading awareness about women’s rights in the workplace.

In an interview with The Jordan Times, JoWomenomics CEO Mayyada Abu Jaber said that the conference also celebrated Jordan’s recent amendments to the Sexual Harassment Law, which provided a more specific definition and lifted restrictions related to women’s working hours, among other significant measures.

Abu Jaber also said that these amendments have improved the Kingdom’s position by six points in the Women, Law and Business Indicator, adding that the theme of the conference aligns with International Women’s Day’s focus on supporting leaders of feminist change.

“The goal of such conferences is to bring together community leaders of feminist change to initiate a dialogue with decision makers, parliamentarians, ministers, relevant specialists and lawyers,” Abu Jaber said.

Regarding Oxfam’s Women’s Voice and Leadership programme, Abu Jaber said that the project is “unique” for its feminist approach to exploring the needs of feminist organisations, adding that the focus, this year, is on shifting away from the gender division in the world of labour, with all jobs and professions across the country now open to women.

“Oxfam is contributing to our strategy aimed at disseminating our message to the community,” she said, noting that JoWomenomics’ cooperation with Oxfam began in April 2023, and this year, JoWomenomics is concentrating on enabling policies to create an empowering environment for women.

In March 2023, pivotal amendments were made to the Labour Law to address sexual harassment and safeguard women’s rights in the workplace.

Article 29 was revised to clearly define sexual harassment and enforce penalties for employers who engage in any form of sexual misconduct or harassment against their employees. Concurrently, Article 69 emphasised the principle of equal opportunity, stating that no form of discrimination based on gender should exist in the workplace. As a result of these amendments, previous restrictions on certain economic sectors and working hours for women were lifted, according to the research.

Established in 2014, JoWomenomics is an independent, non-profit organisation committed to promoting an ecofeminist economy in Jordan and the MENA region. The organisation has successfully employed over 600 women across 10 governorates, reached out to 4000 community members, developed 18 community champion networks, and has been a strong advocate for amendments to the Labour Law and Social Security Law.

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