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Workshop outlines means to open crèches at workplace

By Rana Husseini - Aug 27,2014 - Last updated at Aug 27,2014

AMMAN — Private sector representatives on Wednesday met with government agencies and SADAQA members to discuss ways to overcome obstacles to open crèches in their own establishments.

SADAQA is a campaign run by 12 core team members who seek to promote friendlier working environments for women through the provision of daycare centres.

The one-day workshop gathered representatives from 12 companies to share lessons learned and ways to overcome challenges with regards to implementing Article 72 of the Labour Law, which requires 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 in the workplace. 

Jordanian women’s participation in the labour market remains low, and the lack of nurseries at the workplace is one of the reasons, SADAQA core team member Randa Naffa told the gathering.

Other reasons, added the gender expert, include beliefs and traditions that still object to women’s economic participation, costly transportation, harassments and unequal wages.

This was the sixth workshop conducted by SADAQA during the past five months targeting the private sector, according to Naffa.

“Our campaign focuses on sectors such as textile factories, banks, telecommunication companies and educational institutes because they have the highest percentage of female employees,” she explained.

Naffa announced during the workshop that SADAQA is also lobbying Parliament to introduce amendments to Article 72 to ensure that it benefits both men women. 

For instance, she said, the campaign recommends that the law should require companies with 30 or more employees, regardless of gender, to provide adequate daycare centres.

This would ensure that the application of the law will not negatively impact female employment rates by stopping at a certain figure “to avoid opening a crèche”, Naffa explained.

In the coming year, SADAQA plans to target 162 large companies, each of which employs over 100 women, she told The Jordan Times.

“There are 900 companies in Jordan that fall under the guidelines of Article 72 but we chose companies that employ 100 women for the time being,” she said.

The targeted companies operate in five governorates — Amman, Zarqa, Karak, Salt and Irbid.

SADAQA technical core team member Reem Abul Ragheb said they visit companies that seek their help and provide them with the needed strategies to open daycare centres.

“Companies that seek our help... ask about the best place to open a nursery, what kind of toys to buy, the number and qualifications of staff, among other inquiries,” Abul Ragheb explained.

Part of the project’s activities, such as the workshops and a brochure with guidelines for daycare centres, are funded by the embassy of the Netherlands, according to Naffa.

SADAQA and the Labour Ministry have teamed up over the past three years to raise awareness on the importance of establishing daycare centres in private sector entities.

SADAQA and other stakeholders raise awareness about Article 72 and educate companies on how it should be applied, while the Labour Ministry carries out inspection campaigns to ensure that businesses are abiding by the law and implementing this article.

On Monday, The Jordanian National Commission for Women sent a memo to the government demanding the establishment of crèches in public sector institutions.

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