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‘Real women’s empowerment requires action on recommendations’

By Rana Husseini - Feb 03,2020 - Last updated at Feb 03,2020

AMMAN — Women activists on Sunday called for the implementation of recommendations “to achieve real women’s empowerment” in Jordan.

“I believe it is time we list serious and applicable solutions for any recommendations voiced by women and civil society entities if we want to achieve real change in the status of women in Jordan,” said Sisterhood Is Global Institute (SIGI) Jordan Executive Director Asma Khader.

Khader, a former minister, stressed that Jordanians should also learn from “past mistakes” and avoid solutions adopted in the past that failed.

“We need to draw up a carefully studied strategy that includes a practical mechanism for implementing recommendations,” Khader told The Jordan Times.

Khader comments came in response to findings and recommendations of the Economic and Social Council’s (ESC) annual “State of the Country” report, which was released earlier last month.

The ESC’s 1,590-page report aims to monitor the performance of ministries and state institutions based on their strategies and goals.

The report is divided into eight sections, each of which focuses on certain sectors, tracking changes and achievements throughout the year, including a section that highlights women’s affairs.

Among the challenges for women, according to the report, are the gender pay gap, restrictions on accessing resources, weak political representation and limited social and economic access.

The recommendations listed in the report include reexamining school textbooks that still reinforce the “traditional and stereotypical role of women in society by depicting them as weak housewives in need of male guardians’ guidance and unproductive on a community level”.

“These recommendations and others have been coming up for years in various lists of demand by the women’s movement and civil society organisations working in the field. The ESC report echoes those demands,” said Sahar Aloul, executive team member of Sadaqa, an NGO that aims to increase women's economic participation in Jordan.

Aloul stressed the strong need for the government to adopt such recommendations and implement them, so that they will not “remain ink on paper”.

“There are many efforts being exerted on the ground by the women’s movement and all that is left is for the government to jump on board,” Aloul told The Jordan Times.

Arab Women Organisation member Laila Naffa highlighted major issues for women in Jordan such as the Citizenship Law that deprives Jordanian women who are married to non-Jordanians of passing on citizenship to their husbands and children, as well as the issue of early marriage.

“We also have a large form of violence that needs to be addressed seriously by the government — early marriage of girls — which sees over 10,000 marriages yearly that mostly end in divorce or the subjecting of young women to all forms of violence,” Naffa told The Jordan Times. 

“These are two of several issues that must be addressed seriously by the government,” Naffa said.

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