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Improving workplace key to attracting female employees — academics

By Rana Husseini - May 08,2014 - Last updated at May 08,2014

AMMAN — Efforts should be geared towards improving the workplace environment in order to increase women’s participation in the labour market, academics said on Thursday.

The recommendations were announced at a workshop organised by the Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs titled “The importance of women's participation in national development”.

University of Jordan (UJ) Professor Amal Kharouf, of the women’s studies programme, presented a paper on female employees in the local labour market.

Citing Department of Statistics figures, Kharouf said “females constitute only 14 per cent of the labour force in Jordan and the unemployment rate for women is 21.8 per cent, compared with 11.8 per cent for males.”

Some of the challenges that women face in the job market include long working hours, wage differences in favour of men and lack of awareness of their labour rights, according to the professor's paper.

Kharouf recommended making part-time work optional, applying policies that would eliminate any discrimination against women such as wage differences and other benefits, and providing low-cost crèches at the workplace.

UJ sociology professor Majdeddin Khamesh presented a paper on Jordanian women’s situation in the labour market and the importance of gender-mainstreaming in the strategies of national institutions.

He pointed out that unemployment among female university graduates stands at 76 per cent, compared with 26 per cent among male graduates.

“This is based on Department of Statistics studies, and I believe it is the responsibility of the government and civil society to work on reducing this figure,” Khamesh told the gathering.

Rami Wreikat, secretary general of the Political and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry, delivered a speech on behalf of Minister Khaled Kalaldeh, who said that women in Jordan are “a strategic partner in the development process”.

“Women are a main pillar in the country’s development, reform process and democratisation,” the minister said in the speech.

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