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Regional gender gap stands at 62.6%, conference hears

By JT - Sep 26,2023 - Last updated at Sep 27,2023

Social Development Minister Wafa Bani Mustafa and guests during the launch ceremony of the regional conference, Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Arab World: Prospects and Challenges’ in Amman on Tuesday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — The Global Gender Gap Report for 2023 highlighted a significant gender gap in the MENA region compared to other parts of the world, Wafa Bani Mustafa, minister of social development and chairperson of the Ministerial Committee for Women’s Empowerment, said on Tuesday.

Bani Mustafa noted that the gender gap in the region is estimated at 62.6 per cent, with a 44 per cent gap in economic participation and opportunities. 

During the launch ceremony of the regional conference, “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Arab World: Prospects and Challenges,” which kicked off under the patronage of HRH Princess Basma, chairperson of the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW), Bani Mustafa also said data shows a 0.9 per cent decline in gender equality in the region since the last report, based on a consistent sample of countries surveyed since 2006.

The conference was organised by the JNCW in cooperation with the Arab Women’s Organisation and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

Highlighting the great attention paid to women’s participation, Bani Mustafa referred to significant changes made in 2022, including a new article in the Jordanian Constitution which guarantees the empowerment of women in various fields while protecting them from violence and discrimination.

German Ambassador to Jordan Bertram von Moltke stressed the importance of women’s participation and highlighted the challenges they face. 

Empowerment includes integrating women into the economy, as they are essential drivers of growth and prosperity, the ambassador said.

While women around the world are benefiting from opportunities to reach leadership levels, they have not achieved equal participation and face numerous barriers due to cultural, religious and social factors, Moltke said.

Fadia Kiwan, director general of the Arab Women’s Organisation, stressed the need for women to be more aware, prepared and courageous. 


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