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Activists, lawmakers discuss means to empower women in Jordan

By Rana Husseini - Mar 28,2016 - Last updated at Mar 28,2016

Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh delivers remarks at a meeting with women’s rights activists and European officials in Amman on Monday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — Women’s activists on Monday met with Lower House MPs to discuss the outcome of a study on the Euro-Med Ministerial Conclusions on Strengthening the Role of Women in Society and its impact on Jordan.

The roundtable discussion gathered major actors at the national and local levels, and aimed to support the efforts of female parliamentarians who work towards strengthening women’s position in society through legislation.

The discussion will “hopefully contribute to increased knowledge and skills for developing gender equality policies in the frame of the upcoming Ministerial Conference and increase public support,” said Lilian Halls French, co-president of the Euro-Med Feminist Initiative.

“The meeting will surely contribute to strengthening and furthering gender policy dialogue with state actors and decision makers to follow up on the Paris Ministerial Conclusions and in preparing of the next Ministerial Conference on women’s rights,” French told the gathering.

The event will enhance the work of advocating for Jordan “to hopefully host the upcoming Ministerial Conference on women’s rights”, added Boriana Jönsson, executive director at the Euro-Med Feminist Initiative.

Also speaking during the session, Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh said Jordanian women have proven themselves in various fields, including politics, “and in some instances their performance was better than men”.

“This leads me to call for the cancellation of women’s quota [in elected councils] because women could win in free and direct competition,” Tarawneh told the gathering.

Currently there are 18 women in the Lower House, including 15 who won seats through the quota and three through direct competition.

MP Wafaa Bani Mustafa who also addressed the gathering said women in Jordan are not “waiting for privileges but are, rather, seeking social justice”.

The Jerash deputy said there are several external challenges facing women, such as extremist ideologies and the misuse of religion to push women’s rights backwards.

Jordanian Democratic People’s Party Secretary General Abla Abu Olbeh said women’s issues should be considered a national cause that “entails serious work plans and high commitments if we want to see real change”.

French Ambassador to Jordan David Bertolotti stressed his country’s commitments to women’s rights in Jordan and elsewhere in the region.

“There is a lot to be done to promote women’s rights, and the civil society should play an important role in lobbying for women’s rights,” Bertolotti told the gathering.

Activists and representatives of various governorates met twice last week with government officials to discuss ways to enhance women’s rights and political participation in Jordan and to discuss the outcome of a study of the findings of the third Ministerial Conference 2013 in Paris.

The study was implemented by the Euro-Med Feminist Initiative, a network of women’s rights organisations from 20 countries from the two shores of the Mediterranean, over a year under the Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs’ “Support to Democratic Governance in Jordan” programme funded by the EU.

The Ministerial Conference reaffirmed the importance of gender equality policy making, especially in the context of the ongoing political transformations in the Southern Mediterranean, recognising the important role women play.

 

Government ministers at the Paris meeting committed to ensuring the equal rights of women and men to participate in political, economic, civil and social life, and combating all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls.

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Comments

HOW CAN THIS BODY EMPOWER ANY OR GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS WHO DO NOT EVEN HAVE THE BASIC FOUNDATION OF WHAT IT TAKES TO BE EMPOWERED?. TO BE EMPOWERED, ONE MUST HAVE THE BASIC HUMAN, CIVIL AND CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS WHICH WOMEN DO NOT HAVE IN JORDAN. HOW CAN YOU EMPOWER SOMEONE WHO INDIVIDUALLY CANNOT SIGN ANY LEGAL DOCUMENT, CAN BE KILLED FOR WHAT MOST MEN DO AND GET AWAY WITH IT. DOES THE SAID EMPOWERMENT INCLUDE WHAT WOMEN CHOOSE TO DO WITH THEIR BODY, WHOM TO MARRY, FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT, THE RIGHTS TO CITIZENSHIPS AND THE LIST GOES ON. WHAT A JOKE!!!!!!!!

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