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Lack of public transport poses hurdle for women’s employment — report

By Maria Weldali - Aug 11,2022 - Last updated at Aug 11,2022


AMMAN — Public transportation has a direct impact on women’s economic participation rates in Jordan, according to the Social Protection Observatory (SPO), an affiliate of Jordanian NGO Tamkeen for Legal Aid and Human Rights.

Although women represent 47 per cent of the Jordanian population, their economic participation is only 14.2 per cent, among the lowest in the World, revealed an SPO report.

The report added that “78 per cent of graduates in Jordan find that the lack of adequate public transportation constitutes an obstacle to their access to employment”.

A group of working women, contacted by The Jordan Times, said that they spend at least 20 per cent of their monthly incomes on transportation, adding that if they have had another option, they would not have used public transportation which they described as “unreliable and unsafe”.

“Here in Jordan we do not have safe and affordable public transportation, the minute I enter the bus I immediately feel uncomfortable,” Ghadeer Abu Rub, 24, told The Jordan Times on Wednesday.

Abu Rub who daily commutes to work by bus, said that more efforts are needed to optimise public transportation systems in Jordan, because if nothing is done, more and more women will leave the labour market, which will eventually affect the economic growth.

Meanwhile, Noor Al Manaseer, a Jordanian who works at a private hospital in Amman, said that she used to commute to work using car-hailing applications, but after a while she realised that it costs her over JD100 every month.

“Now I need to make multiple trips just to get to work, it is not easy, but at the same time I do not want to work only to pay for my transportation and bills,” Manaseer said.

According to World Bank’s Jordan Public Transport Diagnostic and Recommendations report which was released on February 2022, “women’s low participation in the country’s labour market means Jordan’s economy can lose about $65 million a year in productivity by 2030.”

According to the report, women make up only one-third of the passengers on public transport in Jordan. It also said that poor public transport makes it harder for women and young people without cars to work.

Jo Womenomics’ “Perceptions and Lived Experiences in Jordanian Communities: Women and the World of Work” research, shows that women in Jordan experience harassment on public transportation and on street.

“An accessible and sustainable transport system that reduces gender inequality in transport and empowers women to enter the labour market, is needed here in Jordan,” said Alaa Jebril, a young Jordanian women’s rights defender.

“Today if you ask Jordanian women about public transportation, they will immediately complain and will start to list their bad experiences,” she concluded.

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