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Women activists agree 'to raise solid arguments in unified voice'

By Rana Husseini - Aug 26,2019 - Last updated at Aug 26,2019

DEAD SEA — Women activists and politicians participating in a three-day conference at the Dead Sea agreed on Monday that the focus of their activism should entail providing solid arguments in order to achieve more gains in the future.

"It is very important to be able to provide evidence-based examples when advocating for our demands," said Senator Sawsan Majali.

Majali was one of several women activists and former officials who spoke during the first day of the conference titled "Innovative Approaches to Women's Empowerment".

Majali stressed that "the women's movement also needs to be united when presenting their demands or they will not succeed".

"We should work for our country and if we do not work right and are not united then we will lose our battles," Majali told over 160 participants taking part in the conference that is being held at the Hilton Dead Sea Convention Centre.

Majali also stressed the need to focus on the upbringing of children at home, adding that parents should be good role models for their youngsters.

Former minister Asma Khader agreed with Majali saying that unity within the women's movement is of extreme importance.

"The women's movement has accepted gradual changes because this has become the norm but we need to stay united because some gains that we achieved could be taken away from us at any moment," Khader warned.

Also speaking during the panel discussions was head of the Jordanian delegation Mayyada Abu Jaber, who is the CEO of World of Letters. She pointed out that Jordan's ranking in women's labour participation is still low internationally.

That is why, Abu Jaber maintained, "the two-year project focused on changing the mindset of society to further accept women's participation in the labour force and in the professions they desired without restrictions or boundaries".

Meanwhile, lawyer Rasha Laswi touched on another form of boundary that is "sometimes hindering women from joining the labour market or continuing with their jobs".

"Some women are forced to quit because they are subjected to sexual harassment at work because the laws do not protect them from such harmful practices," Laswi explained.    

Director of Information and Media Affairs at Al al-Bayt University Reem Al Zoubi said almost 70 per cent of the Jordanian population are young.

"We need to focus on this sector and encourage dialogue among this group because it is an effective means of guaranteeing a change in the mindset of the younger generations," Zoubi said.

Director General of the National Centre for Culture and Arts of King Hussein Foundation Lina Attel also spoke during the panel stressing the need to focus on the younger generation.

"We conducted several interactive plays in various parts of the country to promote women and unconventional jobs and were able to break many taboos in some conservative areas," said Attel, who is also the founder of the interactive theatre.

The feedback was positive, according to Attel, and "many approached us to conduct similar activities in the future because people there learned a lot from the art performances".

"We aim to share lessons learned from the implementation of this powerful regional project and to continue partnering with leaders from all sectors to advance just causes," Director of the GCUM May Rihani stressed.

Rihani added that the aim is also to further empower "our collective voices with the aim of advancing women's rights  and to think of the future steps to further advance women's causes in the region".

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