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Upcoming economic conference seeks to facilitate empowerment of female workforce, entrepreneurs

By Maram Kayed - Jan 20,2020 - Last updated at Jan 20,2020

AMMAN — An event held on Monday at the Prime Ministry to discuss the Economic Empowerment of Women in Jordan Conference — which is scheduled to take place on January 23 and 24 — saw the announcement of the conference’s background, agenda and expected outcomes.

The conference, in partnership with the Prime Ministry and Parliament, will invite businesswomen, female owners of small- and medium-sized companies, policymakers, and representatives from the private sector, financial service entities and civil society agencies to participate.

“Anything that concerns enhancing women’s economic participation on the local and national levels — from the challenges facing women in their work environments to the needs of companies owned by women to help them thrive — will be highlighted,” Minister of State for Media Affairs Amjad Adaileh said during Monday’s event. 

MP Reem Abu Dalbouh, who heads Parliament’s Women and Family Affairs Committee, told The Jordan Times that, in terms of women’s access to the labour market, the governorates outside of Amman “require quite a lot of attention”.

According to statistics from the Social Security Corporation (SSC), only 24.9 per cent of insured women in the formal sector work in governorates outside of Amman. 

“This is a major factor that needs to be addressed in order to achieve better economic growth in Jordan. In fact, one of the main points of discussion throughout the conference will be the governorates,” she added.

Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Musa Maaytah also told The Jordan Times that groups representing each governorate will discuss developing an action plan supporting women entrepreneurs according to the “economic ingredients of each governorate”.

“These plans will be pushed for adoption by decision-makers and will have special national and local budgets set for them. After the conference, there will be special committees assigned to following up with the progress of these resolutions,” he added.

Aside from focusing on women in the governorates, it was announced during Monday’s event that the conference will also discuss ways to create entrepreneurial opportunities for women as well as enable them to launch their own small- and medium-sized enterprises on the local and national levels.

“This will, of course, take into consideration the ease of doing business index, identifying main success factors and strengthening them — the most important of which is women’s access to organised financial services and the expected strategic support from the public and private sectors,” said MP Wafaa Bani Mustafa.

In terms of improving working conditions for women, representatives from the Social Security Corporation said that sexual harassment laws have been amended to include harsher punishments.

The corporation also noted that article 69, which used to give company heads the right to limit women to certain working hours and certain tasks, has been scrapped altogether.

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