Celebrating mothers on their special day

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Today marks Mother’s Day, an occasion Jordan celebrates on March 21 every year. It is one special time to celebrate all mothers who raise their children, who work and make a difference to their society, and who are active advocates for the rights of all women.اضافة اعلان

Claiming success in their endeavors

Maysoon Haymour, mother to one child and interior designer says “success means that I continue to enjoy doing what I am most passionate about in life, which is design, and at the same time to be able to create and maintain a deep connection with my daughter”.

Maysoon Haymour

“Being successful means that you are functional in both roles: being a mother and being an employee,” according to Dina Al Bashir, mother of two children, lawyer, an MP, a member of the Lower House Legal Committee, and the youngest woman elected as assistant in the House permanent office.

Ala’ Sinan

Success to Ala’ Sinan, single mother of three and director of the Office of Fundraising and Grants at Al Hussein Technical University, is “reaching what I want as a mother, and a director”.

Sinan believes that work has a positive impact on mothers and children, as it is a way to pursue a passion, build a career path and relationships, and improve the family’s financial status.

There may be differing opinions on whether it is more beneficial to children to be raised by a working mother or a stay-at-home mother, and while there is no clear answer to that, it is undoubtful that mothers do what they see fit to better the lives of their children.

According to Sinan, “children of working mothers are more successful in terms of educational attainment and in terms of their personalities; they are more social, active and strategists”.

According to Bashir, “working has no negative effects, as it teaches how to respect time and organize your life affairs in a more thoughtful way”. She believes that children of working mothers are more aware of what it means for women to leave home to work and be active members of society, which leads to changing the society’s ideas about women.

Success may not come easy; in Bashir’s case, the biggest challenge is balancing the roles “as I have a difficult position that requires reviewing laws and attending sessions”, while as a mother, she needs to “care for my children in terms of health and study”.

Dina Al Bashir

Sinan said: “At the beginning of the pandemic, I lost a job because one of the requirements was to work from the office for eight hours, and I could not leave the children alone.”

“Women who left the labor market during the pandemic did not return, unlike men, and the female economic participation rate decreased by 0.4 percent during the third quarter of 2021,” according to Jordan Labor Watch.

Department of Statistics (DoS) figures show that the unemployment rate among women during the third quarter of 2021reached 30.8 percent, compared to 21.2 percent for men.

According to Reem Aslan, chief technical advisor at International Labor Organization (ILO) Regional Office for Arab States, the unemployment rate has increased due to working mothers’ low wages: “Some of them see that withdrawing from the labor market and staying with their kids is better than working for a wage that will not be able to cover the cost of transportation, nurseries, or even of schools.”

There are other reasons that drive women to withdraw from the labor market, according to Aslan: the wage gap between men and women, and the length of paid vacations.

According to Sinan, “during my 16 years of working, the length of paid vacation was never enough; the 14 days given a working mother are usually used to take care of the children”.

The gap in salaries of men and women is one other challenge women face, in Jordan and worldwide, Sinan said, adding that “our community sees the man as someone having greater responsibilities than women. But what about single mothers?”

Jordan ranked 131st out of 156 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index in 2021 (133rd in economic participation and opportunity, 153rd in labor force participation, 56th in wage equality for similar work), Aslan said, adding that a 2018 DoS report estimated the gender pay gap at 12.9 percent in the public sector, and at 7.7 percent in the private sector.

Discriminations of different sorts do not deter most women. In Haymour’s case, “the only challenge I faced was the guilt feeling that came with being a mother. The constant worrying that you are not doing enough or giving enough”.

“It is challenging at first, but every time my daughter is proud of my work or of what I do, I remind myself that I am setting a good example for her.”

“Every challenge that you overcome is a success because it affects you and changes your personality, and makes you a stronger person”, Bashir said.

According to Sinan, “a woman’s desire to succeed drives her to success. I believe that the support of those around you is a secondary thing, and yes, we can balance our roles because God Almighty created women able to do two jobs at the same time simply, all they need is planning and high coordination”.

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