Low representation of women in Parliament is due to stereotyped images — MPs

Although there are those who are those who are empowered, Jordanian women are still oppressed by their society, which continues to underestimate them, according to lawmakers and MPs. (File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Jordan’s classification as the 11th in the Arab world and 155th globally in women’s representation in Parliament, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) global and regional averages report, is described by lawmakers and activists who spoke to Jordan News as “inequity”.اضافة اعلان

According to the lawmakers and activists, although there are those who are those who are empowered, Jordanian women are still oppressed by their society, which continues to underestimate them despite their “proven abilities to succeed” in various sectors. They voiced hope, however, that the amended election and parties laws, once endorsed, would further empower women to acquire at least 30 percent of seats in Parliament.

MP Dina Al-Bashir told Jordan News that amending legislation is not a radical solution that would offer adequate status to women. “We have to change the culture that still underestimates women and to alter the stereotyped image of women”, adding that for women to assume leading positions, there has to be a fundamental change in society’s mindset.

MP Zainab Al-Bdoul told Jordan News that women parliamentarians still face many challenges and difficulties, “and therefore they cannot become a force or to assume decision-making positions”.

However, according to Bdoul, “there has been great progress in the role of women in Parliament since the beginning of parliamentary life until today, which is a manifestation of Royal efforts and encouragement.”

MP Tammam Al-Riyati told Jordan News that Jordanian women still lack the “golden opportunity” to prove themselves, despite the fact that they “have the necessary skills to take on leading positions”.

Riyati believes that Jordan is witnessing a regression in the role of Jordanian women in the House of Representatives. “We need support from everyone, especially women’s organizations, to implement a new Election Law, which we hope will give more opportunities to women in Parliament.”

She urged women to support each other despite all the difficulties and challenges they might face. “Women should create opportunities for themselves and to prove to society they are capable.”

In comments to Jordan News, activist Nuha Al-Muhairiz said that despite the great attempts to enhance women’s participation in political life, and advance their role in decision-making, “women continue to face great challenges,” adding that it remains difficult for communities to accept competition between men and women running for parliamentary seats, which requires a change in attitudes.

Muhairiz added that “with due respect to the quota system, women continue to be marginalized and excluded,” noting that a new political culture must be nurtured in the interest of a new generation, where society’s misconception of women’s role is altered and is more welcoming of women. “We need to create leadership role models and symbols, who will be followed by others.” Moreover, she said that the current economic situation is not conducive to women’s advancement, “since the economy plays a key role in society’s progress.

MP Omar Al-Zyoud disagrees that the problem lies with society, saying that it “has become more and more receptive and aware of the importance of women’s role, especially in political life, but it remains up to women to prove themselves and to push for their participation in public life.”

Zyoud said that the Election Law will be amended to become “compatible with the needs of our modern times,” expressing hope that women will be able to overcome all challenges and prove their capabilities under all circumstances.

According to the IPU ranking, the UAE scored the highest in the Arab world with women making up 50 percent of its national assembly, followed by Iraq with 28.9 percent women’s representation in parliament, while third came Egypt with women assuming 27.7 percent of its parliamentary seats.

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