Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development
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Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development

Economic Empowerment

ARDD-Legal Aid

The Lana Project, meaning “ours” in English, aims to encourage people of all genders to reject gender-based discrimination and wants to contribute to a more equitable, non-violent and democratic society in the MENA region. Female economic empowerment is one of the five challenges that are at the core of the Lana Project. ARDD-Legal Aid was selected to implement the project in Jordan.

Although Jordanian women are highly educated and 99% of female youth is literate, their participation in the labor market is low. In fact, women with the highest levels of educational attainment have the lowest level of employment: a striking 71% of educated women are unemployed according to the Department of State. Roughly the same percentage of unemployed women has never been employed.

According to the World Bank, only 22% of women in Jordan participate in the labor market versus 87% of men. Among youth, female employment is even lower: only 9% of women between the ages of 15 and 24 are employed compared to 41% of their male counterparts. These numbers are far below the global participation rate for women, which is 52% overall and 46% among youth.According to the World Economic Forum, this ranks Jordan as 139th out of 142 countries for female labor force participation.

Married women are less likely to participate in the labor force than unmarried women. Those whodo work, are largely employed in only a handful of sectors - education, health, and civil services in particular. Because social service jobs are considered socially acceptable for women, there tends to be an overload of female jobseekers trained for these positions and a lack of demand for their skills.

Working women often suffer from wage discrimination. On average, theymake 63 cents on the dinar to what men make for similar work. In addition, there are legal impediments for women who want to enter the labor market. In many cases, womenare required to have a male guardian conduct their basic financial transactionsaccording to the World Bank.Though there are some exceptions, article 69 of the 1996 Labour Code also prohibits women from working at night-time (between 7pm and 6am), while other articlesban them from performing certain professions.

A study by the World Bank shows that the control over economic assets such as land, banking and loan management remains largely in the hands of men, whilewomen are often expected to take care of the children. Because pre-school and domestic help is very expensive, it is often financially more interesting for women to take care of the household than go out to work. In addition, public transportation is difficult to access and navigate. These barriers are often used to argue for women staying home.

Summarized:

  1. Working women are largely concentrated in social service and teaching jobs.
  2.  There are large legal and social impediments for women who want to enter the workforce.
  3. Women who do work, are often not paid equally for their work. 

ARDD-Legal Aid is honored to act as the implementing organization of the Lana project in Jordan, since a gender-sensitive approach is maintained throughout all of our work. Our expertise and experience with gender issues in Jordan, allows us to ensure that the challenge of economic equality is approached with the utmost respect through professional practices and techniques.

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