International Women’s Day, 8th of March 2016 “Pledge for Parity” - Profit from Parity A chance for all

ARDD-Legal Aid

#PledgeforParity

This year the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD)-Legal Aid celebrated the occasion of the International Women’s Tuesday, March 8th 2016. This year’s theme was “Pledge for Parity” – Profit from Parity to commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity at the local, regional, and international level and raise awareness on the profit gained from parity.

The World Economic Forum, predicted in 2014, estimates that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that at current rates, a slowdown in the already dawdling pace of progress in which gender parity will not be achieved until 2133; that’s 117 years away.

Women around the world face legal, economic, and social barriers in negotiating their rights and justice systems. According to the Center of Economic and Social Justice, the word Justice can be defined as “giving to each what he or she is due.”  However, the problem remains in figuring out what is “due”. On a more specific term, “social justice is the virtue which guides us in creating those organized human interactions we call institutions and it encompasses economic justice.” The later refers more to having equal opportunities and benefits among participants in an economy. As an example, economical justice can be resembled in removing all practices that reveal any form of discrimination and allowing people to work freely as per the skills they have, i.e. gender parity in the workplace.

Women participation in the workplace is an integral component for their advancement and ultimately achieving gender parity. Women are still underrepresented at every level in the workplace; for instance, in Jordan, female participation in workforce is amongst the lowest in the world, standing at a staggering 15% compared to the world average of 51%.

As highlighted in research and reports, one of the biggest barriers and accelerators to women’s advancement in the workplace is the underlying conscious and unconscious bias regarding women’s cultural role in society, especially with regards to their role in the workplace, which hinders their advancement into higher performing and leadership positions.

Worldwide, women continue to contribute to social, economic, cultural and political achievement. Gender equality doesn’t require trade-offs; it only has benefits. And the benefits accrue to everyone, not just women and girls. Societies benefit and, as even men are beginning to understand, economies benefit. Both men and women agree that increased female leadership eventually spearheads into building stronger companies. A study conducted by EY and the Peterson Institute for International Economics in 2015 has found that having women in at least 30% of leadership positions adds 6% to a company’s net profit margin. Therefore, increasing the pool of female senior executive positions is clearly associated with higher profits.

Additionally, the low female participation rate in Jordan is a significant lost opportunity for the country. Increasing the female participation rate (from 15% to 27% over the next decade) would have major positive impacts on economic growth for the country (5% by 2025) and on achieving gender parity.

A 2013 report by the World Economic Forum states, “The most important determinant of a country’s competitiveness is its human talent — the skills and productivity of its workforce, which the Arab region has in abundance (youth unemployment rates stand at a staggering 23%compared to the world average of 13%).

Although there is much to celebrate relating to gender parity; progress has slowed down or remained stationery in many places potentially increasing this vast 117-year projection. Building on ARDD-Legal Aid’s experience and vision we are determined to do our part to accelerate women’s progress in the workplace to accelerate gender parity, especially in Jordan. We have worked for many years to create effective internal and external programs focused on women’s advancement socially, politically and economically- and we know there is more to do.

 ARDD- Legal Aid pledges to move from talk to resolute action with the help of both local, regional, and international actors to collectively help women advance the realize the potential they offer their economies and accelerate the 117- year projection to achieving gender equality and to profit from parity through multiple actions that include helping  cascade awareness and behavioral change to accelerate the achievement of the economic value of gender parity; whether to call for more gender-balanced leadership, value differences, or to develop more inclusive and flexible cultures to root out bias’s associated to women’s role in the workplace. We will seek through our work with projects such as “ You Have a Chance “ supported by the  Embassy of the Netherlands ,to clarify and advance the path to leadership for women by making economic and career opportunities more available and visible to women in Jordan, empower vulnerable women both economically, psychosocially, and legally ,in addition we will work on  accelerating and progressing  the underlying social & cultural change, complemented with advocacy for progressive corporate policy and supportive legal laws to support women’s role in the workplace and to foster supportive environments by working to eliminate both conscious and unconscious bias’s regarding women’s role in the workplace to actively contribute to a just and stable society, free of inequity and conflict.

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