National committee finds political will to close gender gap ‘lacking’

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AMMAN — A position paper from the National Committee for Women’s Affairs on Tuesday said that despite the government’s adoption of the “National Strategy for Women in Jordan 2020-2025,” the political drive to close the gender gap in Jordan is lacking. اضافة اعلان

The paper pointed out that women were absent in decision making and planning when it came to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper also highlighted that the curfew exacerbated the burdens placed on women, specifically when it came to care, and increased rates of violence against women, as well as made it harder to access civil society organizations and law enforcement.

The paper, which was organized in cooperation with Taghyeer Project’s “A new consultive approach to support human rights” and implemented by the Center for Protection and Freedom of Journalists, looked at several different aspects of disparity between men and women in Jordan. These included the pandemic’s effects on the gender gap, economic disparity between men and women, and rates of underage marriage.

It found that one such factor impairing female workers in the private sector was that many were unable to receive their salaries through direct deposit.

In addition, an opinion poll, conducted by the committee and the International Labor Organization, assessed the use of direct deposit payments and e-wallets, and showed that 58 percent of men and 57 percent of women chose not to create accounts on these wallets. Most workers in the private sector have also reported that they had difficulty registering on them.

The report also showed that the pandemic has severely affected those working as day laborers and in unorganized businesses, especially agricultural workers. Many of the women working in these sectors were often deprived of social security coverage, according to the paper.

It also pointed out the importance of amending Article (12) of the Labor Law to exempt  non-citizen children of Jordanian mothers from work permits, adding that they should be given the right to work without any restrictions and be given equal treatment to Jordanian citizens.

Turning to COVID-19, the committee found that the pandemic exacerbated the problems facing women, and the paper stressed the need to set women and children as a priority when setting up plans and policies in combating the pandemic.

The report suggested expanding the scope of their rights and supporting their participation in public affairs, while putting more effort into protecting women from violence and easing their access to justice.

It also discussed the consequences of the pandemic on education, pointing out that the committee has spoken to the government “many times” about the dangers of keeping schools closed and its impact on deepening the gap in quality education.

The committee added that closed schools also serve to isolate girls, particularly in marginalized areas, where there is no access to the internet.

Turning to underage marriages, the paper noted that the Department of the Chief Justice’s annual report showed that marriage rates for those under 18 increased from 11.1 percent in 2019 to 11.8 percent last year.

The committee underlined the importance of strengthening institutional partnerships with local human rights actors to help empower women.

It also added that the concerned institutions are responsible for limiting the spread of gender-based violence and are responsible for responding quickly to cases of violence against women and children by taking preemptive measurements to provide protection and safety.

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