Impacted by pandemic, women’s economic participation is decreasing

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AMMAN — Participation in the labor market is one of the most significant challenges Jordanian women face when trying to make a difference in their communities. Despite official efforts to empower women and increase their role in the economy, the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated an already dire situation.اضافة اعلان

Recent data shows that the pandemic resulted in a significant drop in the percentage of women workers in a wide range of industries, reflected in higher unemployment rates.

According to official UN data, women’s unemployment rate remains high, reaching 30.8 percent in the third quarter of 2021, compared to unemployed men at 21.2 percent.

In the same period, the revised economic participation rate for women fell to 14.5 percent from 14.9 percent in 2020, indicating that many women who had left the labor market during the pandemic did not return.

According to Jordan Labor Watch, the rate of economic activity for Jordanian women is among the lowest in the world, at around 47.9 percent, and among the lowest in the region, at around 31 percent.

In the words of Linda Kalash, executive director of Tamkeen for Legal Aid and Human Rights, the coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on women’s employment.

“We witnessed an exodus of women from the Jordanian labor market as a result of online education, as well as the dismissal of a large number of male and female employees, not to mention the closure of several institutions during the pandemic,” she said.

The existence of an informal labor market whose size and composition are unknown makes it hard to get accurate estimates of the number of women who work in the entire labor market.

Kalash said that “the responsible authorities must first improve the work environment and support flexible work, in addition to ensuring equal pay for men and women, because the wage disparity results in women withdrawing from the labor market”.

She added that the Ministry of Labor is in charge of this issue, and that one of the most significant challenges the ministry faces is lack of inspectors.

Women’s participation in the labor force is significantly lower than that of men’s, and the pandemic has resulted in many people losing their jobs, Rasha Badareen, leader of the Workforce Development component at the Jordan River Foundation, told Jordan News.

“During the pandemic, we noticed that there was a significant number of women who wanted to work from home because there are no nurseries at their place of employment, and because of logistical issues,” Badareen added.

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