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‘Lack of crèches at workplace driving away qualified women’

By Suzanna Goussous - Apr 09,2015 - Last updated at Apr 09,2015

AMMAN — Many professionally qualified women in Jordan are less eager to take up a job when they know that their children will not be near them at work, so most of them decide in favour of their “domestic chores”, according to a local journalist.

“One reason for the decrease in women’s employment rate… is the mother’s loss of skills after she returns from a long maternity leave; she has to start from point zero, which will be an obstacle on her career path,” Sahar Aloul, managing editor at Jordan Business Magazine, said at a discussion held recently on women’s involvement in the labour force.

Participants said the main difficulties for women in business are unequal wages, transportation difficulties, harassment, social and traditional practices, and the lack of crèches for their children.

“I face that problem, every now and then; I don’t go to work because of my seven-month-old son at home,” said Lara Ayoub, digital media consultant at Roya TV and core team member at Sadaqa NGO, which co-organised the discussion with the Taqaddam organisation. 

“As a woman, I aspire to be in a decision-making position and to contribute to the community, but some things in our companies and business entities hold us back,” Ayoub told The Jordan Times at the event. 

Randa Naffa, a consultant in the areas of gender, advocacy and community organising at Sadaqa, said women in Jordan tend to quit their jobs at the age of 27, which is identified as the average age of marriage in the Kingdom.

“Unemployment for men in Jordan is 11 per cent, while unemployment for women is 22.2 per cent,” Naffa said, citing studies.

Naffa referred to Article 72 of the Labour Law, stressing the importance of raising awareness of it among women. 

The provision obligates companies that have 20 or more female employees with a total of 10 children under the age of four to provide an adequate daycare centre supervised by trained personnel. 

“So many Jordanian women aren’t even aware of Article 72. We want to raise awareness on this article and let women know their rights,” Naffa added.

Ayoub said the media could do much more in regards to encouraging women to join the labour force.

“You don’t have to choose; there is a law to protect you, so we must expose and educate the community on their rights to encourage the best lifestyles for us all,” she said.

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