Low women’s participation in economy is due to gender discrimination – MPs

worker women
(Photo: Envato Elements)
AMMAN — This year, the world celebrated the March 8 International Women’s Day under the UN title Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow.اضافة اعلان

On the occasion, the Jordanian Labor Observatory of the Phoenix Center for Economic Studies and the German Friedrich Ebert Foundation issued a paper detailing how deprivation, obstacles, and restrictions lead to gender inequality in the world of work, where social and legislative barriers are still obstacles to the active economic participation of women.

According to lawmakers and activists who spoke to Jordan News, lack of progress toward increasing women’s economic participation  in Jordan is due mainly to the difficult working conditions experienced by the majority of workers in Jordan, men and women alike, especially low wages, and to the fact that women, in particular, still resort to informal work and may be exposed to extortion and harassment.

MP Zainab Al-Bdoul told Jordan News that institutions and ministries, in general, still fail to give women their full rights, and that women still receive the minimum wage in many cases.

She added that “some women also suffer from blackmail, in addition to labor exploitation, due to the lack of implementation of the laws and deterrent penalties. Governments must create a safe work environment and tighten sanctions in order to encourage women to work and enhance their economic participation”,

MP Dina Al-Bashir told Jordan News that it is still difficult for women to find a stimulating work environment “and the lack of justice, in terms of equal opportunities, may make them feel frustrated”, adding that the existence of deterrent legislation would provide a regulated work environment.

The most prominent obstacles that stand in the way of women’s participation in economic activities, according to Bashir, are “the concentration of businesses in the capital, Amman, which makes it difficult for women to access them, and lack of a transportation network”.

Bashir added that there must be deterring laws to limit or eliminate harassment “and ensure that women are never subjected to harassment in the workplace”.

Executive Director of Tamkeen Linda Al-Kalash told Jordan News that the work environment in Jordan is still unhealthy, and “what weakens it the most is giving workers, whether men or women, the minimum wage, in addition to not compensating them for overtime”.

According to Kalash, a large number of women still resort to informal work, “which deprives them of social security. Here, the importance of finding an effective complaints system and increasing the number of inspectors must be emphasized to ensure that the work environment is safe and healthy in all respects”.

Activist Nuha Al-Muhairiz told Jordan News that “the societal culture still hinders women from participating in the economy”, adding that women still suffer from, most notably, harassment and extortion.

She added that “the biggest problem is that women are still afraid of confrontation or of complaining for fear of losing their livelihood”.

“Jordan has not yet ratified the Convention against Violence and Harassment at Work No. 190, and there are still shortcomings in the policies of business establishments regarding reporting cases of harassment,” she said, urging the concerned authorities to sign this agreement because of its significant impact on limiting or eliminating harassment of women in Jordan.

According to Muhairiz, “the labor law ostensibly protects women, but on the ground, women still avoid challenges and problems due to the length of government procedures and their financial need”.

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