Towards Women's Economic Justice in Jordan
As per the Center of Economic and Social Justice, the word Justice can be defined as “giving to each what he or she is due.” 1 However, the problem remains in figuring out what “due” is. 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.”2 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.
Having a closer look at the Middle East and Jordan in particular, it is recognized that during the past thirty years Jordan highly invested in its human resources and this has proven to be beneficial to both males and females in terms of improvement in the quality of life. Moreover, the Country Gender Assessment (CGA) for Jordan focused on two objectives; “gender imbalances in the areas of economic participation in the labor market, agency, and access to justice and development and strengthening of partnerships with the Government of Jordan agencies, Civil Society Organization's (CSOs), and academic institutions.”3 Nonetheless, CGA pointed out that this development has not yet achieved the consistent increase in women’s participation whether in economic, social or political life. The obstacles that hindered women’s participation in Jordan are seen to have been “caused by a combination of the treatment of women versus men under applicable legal frameworks, with gaps further widened by restrictive social norms that can govern women's behavior.”4
Legal empowerment enables women to navigate the justice system in Jordan to access their social and economic rights enshrined to them under the Constitution and other laws to achieve economic justice A comprehensive legal empowerment does not only address weak or discriminating laws related to family law and gender-based violence, but also the current work environment. Violence against girls and women is directly linked to economic vulnerability. Economic vulnerability enables exploitation by employers, family members, and others in their communities. It is also a reason why girls and women are unable to escape violence and build stable and secure environments for themselves and their families. Economic empowerment of women is a powerful strategy to address violence against women. Empowered women can better access employment, financial resources, and other market opportunities providing them with some of the tools necessary to enable them to extricate themselves from violent relationships, access support services, and rebuild their lives, since women then and now are struggling mightily to achieve economic security
Organizations such as ARDD – Legal Aid are working in order to improve women’s participation through increasing women’s awareness about their rights and entitlements. This is done through different projects and a live example of that is the Women’s Access to Justice program, which is entering its second phase this year. WAJ Phase II will be implemented in Zarqa and Amman Governorates in Jordan. It uses a comprehensive approach to support women in their attempts to access justice through legal empowerment sessions. WAJ Phase II will teach women how to navigate the justice system in Jordan to access the rights enshrined to them under the Constitution. It will also work to address the economic barriers that prevent women from acting independently by emphasizing economic empowerment and referring the most vulnerable to partnered economic empowerment organizations.