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Both successes and failures in gender equality

Mar 07,2015 - Last updated at Mar 07,2015

Almost 90 per cent of Jordanian women above the age of 15 are educated and more than 60 per cent of university students are females.

Nonetheless, women constitute only 16 per cent of the labour force, according to figures released by the Department of Statistics.

These figures show both successes and failures of authorities, as well as by the society as a whole, and reflect distortions in the development process which should fairly utilise citizens’ potentials to the fullest.

To educate women and to have them left out of the labour market at any stage in their productive life is a waste in national investments that should be tackled adequately.

Jordanian women have proved their capabilities and desire to take part in building the society and driving it towards progress, but it seems that there are forces pulling them back, when it comes to their participation in the labour market and in the political process as a whole.

Last week’s government reshuffle by Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour increased the number of women ministers from three to five, out of 27 Cabinet members, giving women a fairer representation in the executive authority, but still short of aspirations, knowing that women constitute half of society.

The same goes for Parliament, which has 15 per cent of the seats allocated to women to ensure minimal representation, and municipal councils, which also have 25 per cent allotted for women members.

Despite being progressive, compared to Arab neighbours, these percentages fall short of the aspirations of proponents of gender equality.

There should be a gradual increase in quotas allocated for women in Parliament, municipal councils, university boards and many other establishments from all spheres of life, to give women the right to serve their society and country.

There is need to increase the number of women leaders in all sectors, to have them act as role models around the Kingdom.

We are proud of the achievements of Jordanian women, exemplary in many fields, but certainly they can achieve much more with equal opportunities and without political, societal, cultural, bureaucratic and other kinds of obstacles facing them.

We wish Jordanian women a happy International Women’s Day and hope to celebrate the next one with fewer obstacles in their way and more achievements to boast about.

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