Jordan scores a modest 46.9/100 in World Bank index on working women

Rate of female economic participation in labor force has declined to 13.5% in 2021

working women
(Photo: AFP
AMMAN — The World Bank confirmed its readiness to sup-port improving indicators of women’s economic participation in Jordan, explaining that “the Jordanian economy cannot grow if nearly half of its population suffers from unemployment,” according to Al-Mamlaka TV.اضافة اعلان

New data published by the World Bank showed that the rate of female economic participation in the labor force in Jordan has declined to 13.5 percent last year, down from 16.1 percent in 2010, while it was 62.3 per-cent for men last year, compared to 61.3 percent in year 2010.

Jordan’s ranking in the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law Report for the current year stood at a modest 46.9 points out of 100, after it had increased last year by six points compared to the 2020 ranking. The report indicated that the overall score for Jordan was lower than the regional average observed in MENA, which is 53, where the maximum score observed in the region was in Malta at 88.8.

World Bank Resident Representative of the World Bank in Jordan Holly Benner said during a session on the Women, Business and the Law 2022 report on Tuesday, that the rate of women’s participation in the labor force in Jordan are among the lowest in the world, explaining that “it reached 15 percent during the past decade, compared to the global aver-age of 47 percent.”

Benner added that “the World Bank considers the low rates of women’s economic participation as one of the great development challenges in Jordan,” noting that recent World Bank studies indicated that women’s participation in the labor force in Jordan is limited by several factors. These include a lack of job opportunities in the private sector, social traditions, skills mismatches with the job opportunities, lack of high-quality childcare services, absence of safe and reliable transportation, and the lack of an enabling legal-political framework as a base.

Benner said that “promoting economic opportunities for women is a fundamental base of the World Bank Group’s work in Jordan,” explaining that the bank is working on improving economic job opportunities for women in all of its governorates, and creating job opportunities, social protection, business support, and financing legal reforms, thanks to the contributions of many partners.

Benner emphasized that the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law report 2022 can be a useful tool, as many countries have used it to identify and address reforms that can contribute to improving women’s economic participation rates.

Minister of State for Legal Affairs and Head of the Ministerial Committee for the Empowerment of Women, Wafaa Bani Mustafa, said during the session that the government “does not deny that the rate of economic participation for women is low and does not exceed in 14.3 percent, but she added that “what we need are to adopt more amendments to legislations.”

“The more we develop the work environment and update and improve the working conditions, in partnership with the private sector, which opens employment opportunities, the better the opportunities will be in terms of the work environment and the restrictions imposed on work and in terms of nurseries and childcare places,” according to the minister.

She stressed that Jordan, represented by the Ministerial Committee for the Empowerment of Women, seeks, through the Economic Modernization Vision to focus on linking women’s issues and their economic empowerment with the vision’s initiatives.

Bani Mustafa pointed that Jordan is on the path of reform, especially after the recent amendments to the Constitution and the gains that women have enjoyed in all legislations.

According to the bank’s data, the expected number of years of schooling adjusted according to the amount of education for women in Jordan was 8.10 school years in 2020, while for men it was 7.24 years, compared to 8.35 years for women and 7.44 years for men in 2010, while the completion rate of the preparatory stage for women decreased from 84.4  per-cent in the year 2010 to 67 percent in the year 2020, and for men also from 81.1 percent in the year 2010 to 65.7 percent in the year 2020.

Regarding restrictions on freedom of movement, the report said that Jordan maintained its ranking at 25 out of 100, after allowing women to apply for a passport in the same way as men.

The report contrasted a number of indicators and legal differences be-tween men and women in several areas, where it remained at zero out of 100 regarding laws that affect women’s decisions at work, and stood at 75 points out of 100 in laws affecting women’s wages for the second year in a row.

Regarding restrictions related to marriage, Jordan remained flat again at a point of 20 out of 100, and 40 points out of 100 in laws affecting women’s work after childbirth, and remained at a 40 out of 100 in gen-der differences in property and inheritance.

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