Partners in Creating the Future
Jordan Joins the World in Celebrating International Women’s Day
Jordan Joins the World in Celebrating International Women’s Day
Monday, 8 March 2021

Jordan and the world is celebrating International Women’s Day today Monday, which happens to be on 8th of March of every year. This year’s celebration goes under the slogan of “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World” and under the hashtag of  #SheChoseToChallenge.

This day aims at celebrating the huge efforts women and girls make all over the world in creating a more equal future and recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, as women such as healthcare workers, caregivers and innovators are on the frontlines responding to the pandemic. This is also because women are the most model and effective national leaders in responding to this pandemic.

The Secretary General of the Higher Population Council Abla Amawi confirmed that the Council is attaching special attention to this occasion. This is because the Council’s strategic goals are related to sustainable development goals, specifically the fifth goal “achieving equality between the sexes and empowering all women and girls” and the tenth goal “limiting inequality within and between countries”. This is along with the Council’s focus on empowering women economically and scaling up their involvement in the labor market, as well as strengthening women’s reproductive health to achieve the best investment of demographic opportunity.

Amawi also demonstrated that around 47% of Jordan’s total population is made up of women, yet their economic participation is still low. Jordanian women’s economic activity rate reached only 14.9% compared to the 53.1% activity rate of males. Female unemployment rate is at 33.6% compared to males’ 21.2%, according to Labor and Unemployment Survey of the third quarter of 2020 and which was issued by the Department of Statistics.

Amawi drew attention to the fact that the analysis of parliamentary election results for the 19th House of Representatives showed a decrease in female representation in the elected parliament. The parliament has seen a big absence in women’s roles, and women were unable to gain any parliament seat through competing and were only confined to the fifteen Quota seats. This is on the contrary to the 2016 election, where women gained five seats through competing in addition to the Quota seats which brought the number of seats held by women to twenty.

Amawi also affirmed that the coronavirus pandemic has hit all societies at their cores, and threatened them on medical, social, political and economic levels. Women were also the most affected by the pandemic, being on the frontlines responding to the pandemic as healthcare workers as according to the Jordanian Nurses Association there are over 36 thousand female and male nurses affiliated with it. Women also make up 60% of the workers in the nursing sector according to the report on the condition of nursing in the world in 2020. Add to this the effects of the pandemic on the economic level of women, as a study conducted by the Economic and Social Council under the title of “The Effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic in the Areas of Health, Domestic Violence and Economics in Jordan According to Gender 2020” has shown that the percentage of women who temporarily or permanently lost their jobs reached (5.1% and 4.9% respectively). The percentage of women were forced into leave without pay reached around 2.7%, and this is considered a high indicator that women working in the private sector don’t enjoy any decent working conditions. Adding to this the fact that women have borne5 the brunt of taking care of the children and domestic chores during the pandemic, as well as suffering from trying to keep their jobs under the consequences of the outbreak of this pandemic. The study has also shown that 34% of women have had household chores affect their remote work.

Amawi also explained that in spite of Jordan’s international commitments to the advancement of women and achieving equality between the sexes, including the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, there is still a weakness in equality on both economic and political levels. This has reflected on Jordan’s position in the Global Gender Gap Report 2020, which is issued by the World Economic Forum. Jordan obtained 138th place out of 153 countries, and on economic participation and opportunity it reached 145th place. On educational attainment, Jordan reached 81th place, 103th place on health and survival and 113th place on political empowerment.

The Human Development Report 2019 titled “Inequalities in human development in the 21st century” showed that the index number for human development in Jordan in 2019 was 0.723. This makes Jordan a high human development country, numbering 102 out of 189 countries. The index for gender development in Jordan reached (0.868) compared to the international (0.941), while the inequality index reached (0.469) compared to the international (0.439).

The Higher Population Council also indicated that Jordanian women still face a number of challenges, as a big percentage of women are still outside the labor market despite their education and academic excellence. Women’s participation percentages in decision-making positions in both the private and public sectors are also modest, which requires the necessity for the operationalization of comprehensive governmental policies and legislations that support community efforts made to change the typical image for women’s roles in society. The Council also added that the weakness in empowering women economically and politically, and the inequality between the two sexes are considered to be one of the most important challenges that face Jordanian women, especially under the coronavirus pandemic. Empowering women is a motivator to build more inclusive societies and a means to achieving sustainable growth rates, and it is impossible to discuss a society’s economic, political or social growth development without the effective participation of women.

The Global Gender Gap Report 2020 has shown that on an international level the gender gap between the two sexes has reached 31.4%, and the percentage for closing that gap reached 24.7%. This was followed by the gap in economic empowerment with a percentage of 57.8% and educational empowerment and health and survival empowerment with better percentages at 96.1% and 95.7% respectively.