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Coalition launched to lobby MPs, gov’t on women’s rights in Labour Law

By Rana Husseini - Apr 05,2018 - Last updated at Apr 05,2018

Members of the newly creation ‘Coalition Rights’ discuss plans to increase women’s labour participation in Amman on Wednesday (Photo by Rana Husseini)

AMMAN — The women’s movement in Jordan on Wednesday launched a coalition to work on increasing female participation in the labour market and ensure a safe environment for them.

“Coalition Rights” comprises 9 women organisations in addition to unions and labour entities which seek to lobby the MPs and the government to amend certain articles in the Labour Law,” said Sadaqa executive board member Sahar Aloul during a press conference held at the General Federation for Labour Union (GFLU), stressing that  “this aims to eliminate discrimination against women and boost their participation in the labour market”.

Jordan was ranked 142 out of 144 countries in women’s labour force participation in the Gender Gap Index published by the World Economic Forum 2017. The index highlighted that most women in the Kingdom do not enter the job market or pull out for a brief period due to the barriers posed by the lack of daycares, access to transportation, and pay inequity.

In February, the Lower House’s Labour Committee amended provisions in the draft labour law that ensured pay equity, the presence of daycare centres at workplaces and the introduction of paternity leave.

Rana Abu Loha, from the GFLU, said that the federation is always striving to increase women’s participation in the labour market, stressing that “this is on top of our priorities”.

Jordanian National Commission for Women  Secretary General Samla Nims added that the coalition will lobby the MPs before the draft Labour Law is sent to the Lower House for discussion and approval.

“We are pleased with the labour committee’s amendments but, of course, this is not the end,” Nims stated.

She noted that the coalition’s priority is “to ensure social justice for women joining the labour market”.

For her part, Sadaqa executive board member Randa Naffa listed the main barriers standing in the way of women entering the labour market, citing the lack of pay equity, of daycare centres of proper transportation system women can rely on.

Aroub Soboh from “My Nationality is the Right of My Family” said the coalition will also list their demands related to children of Jordanian women who are married to non-Jordanians “who should not be treated like foreigners in the Labour Law”.

As it stands now, children of these families do not enjoy full employment rights, as is the case for Jordanian citizens, Soboh said. 

“We will lobby the MPs to consider these children as full citizens while continuing to demand full citizenship rights for families of Jordanian women married to non-Jordanians,” Soboh stressed. 

Aloul concluded the press conference by inviting anyone interested to join the coalition. “The door is open to any individual or entity that wants to join us and our future efforts to demand full economic rights for women in Jordan,” she stressed.

In September 2017, SADAQA released a study which described the unemployment rates among Jordanian women as “horrifying”, stating that around 45 per cent of women who leave the labour market do so due to a lack of childcare while at work.

According to the International Labour Organisation, increasing women’s economic participation in Jordan, which stood at 13.3 per cent in 2015, could boost the GDP by $8 billion a year.

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