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Time to give gender equality full meaning

Mar 10,2019 - Last updated at Mar 10,2019

Jordan did mark International Women's Day (IWD), which fell on Friday, both officially and by the civil society and NGOs. This is good news but it is not enough.

Jordan traditionally commemorates this occasion with a solemn declaration to improve women's rights, including the promotion of gender equality across the board and ending all forms of discrimination and violence against women.

What is missing though is the participation of other cities and towns other than Amman. What is the sense of limiting the celebration of this day to Amman, but leaving the rest of the country untouched by the occasion or not even aware of IWD.

As a matter of fact, many cases of violence and discrimination against women occur in remote areas and towns in Jordan and as long as they remain uncommitted to the same occasion, the campaign to enhance women's rights and protect them from discrimination and violence will never be complete or effective.

All of the country must be aware of IWD and not only the capital city. The government, civil society and NGOs must all endeavour to make the marking of the day widespread and across the length and breadth of the country.

That said, women's rights in Jordan have, indeed, improved but they remain short of what is needed under international human rights norms. Domestic violence in the country remains widespread and unreported. Honour crimes still occur, albeit to a lesser extent. Child marriage also remains a serious problem. Women's right to pass on their citizenship to their children continues to be ignored under one pretext or another.

Jordan of all countries must not remain among the nations that have yet to accord women their full rights. There is no sense in pressing for a faster democratisation process as long as half the population is denied its full civil and political rights, as well as its economic, social and cultural rights.

Jordanian women must not be left behind in the economic development of the country. Their place and status in the economy of the Kingdom must be protected. It is about time that gender equality is given full meaning and import in Jordan.

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