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Women seek to change gender stereotypes through ‘Ana Mish Haik’ initiative

By Sawsan Tabazah - Apr 14,2018 - Last updated at Apr 14,2018

AMMAN — “Anes or Maiden”, “forbidden”, “not allowed”, “you cannot”, “you’re a shame”, “that’s not your right”, “you are weak” are some of the words and phrases that hinder women’s economic, social and political participation that Sally Qadoumi is willing to change through her initiative “Ana Mish Haik”.

With the aim of reducing the presence of large number of words and phrases used by men that negatively affect women and reduces their self-confidence, leading to isolation and lack of strength and motivation to reach leadership positions, Sally Qadoumi, 23, said she will lead plays and panel discussions at academic institutions in Aqaba, 330km south of Amman, her residence area. 

“I believe that I can change the violence and hate speech that targets women through dialogue” Qadoumi told The Jordan Times. 

 “Ana mish Haik” that means “I’m not like this” is the initiative that won the first place in Darabzeen for Human Development’s Abshiri project on Saturday.

Abshiri, which means a promise to be given a hand, aims at empowering women in underprivileged areas that include Mafraq, Northern, Central and Southern Vallies, Tafileh, Petra District and Aqaba governorate to reach to decision-making positions.

The initiative was one of 20 other initiatives that were presented and discussed during (Dukkan Abshiri)’s event at Gallery Ras Al Ain, where a jury, headed by the Jordanian National Committee for Women`s Affairs President Salma Nims, evaluated them and decided to extend a 1000 euros fund and support to three winners.

During the event, the project, that is funded by Hivos International and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, launched a field study titled “What does the Jordanian Women Face on her way to leadership positions?: Challenges and Solutions”. 

Rawan Estetieh, the project’s coordinator said that 500 decision makers, opinion leaders and local community members from 7 governorates filled surveys, and participated in 21 Café talks — Darabzeen’s regular activity where they meet youth and discuss various topics — and 70 researches through Participatory Rapid Appraisal. 

The field study found that the economic participation of women is controlled by social considerations of professions as acceptable and not such as the social stereotypes and the reputation connected to a profession like “Men’s job” and family observance of customs and traditions.

The study outlined the factors that impede women’s access to leadership posts in economic, social and psychological challenges. 

The economic challenges listed in the study are: poverty caused by social issues such as early marriage and divorce, poor transportation system and unemployment because of the lack of jobs.

The stereotypical role given to women by the society due to misinterpretation of religious proverbs is the main constraint facing women socially, according to the study.

While poor promotion of women’s success stories that has led to few successful leadership roles in the local community, fear of social rejection that results in low self-confidence and lack of courage and faith in their abilities and selves, negative view of women’s performance in leadership positions and women fighting one anther out of jealousy and not supporting one another are the main psychological constraints outlined in the study.   

Most of the 20 initiatives were funded by local community members, NGOs and private companies at the end of Dukkan Abshiri (Abshiri’s market).

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