AMMAN – Chronic and multiple factors, perhaps the most recent of which is the Corona pandemic, have cast heavy shadows on the economic reality of Jordanian women. effective by advancing its national role on a different level.
Figures from the Department of Statistics indicate that the female unemployment rate reached 31.5 percent in the first quarter of this year, rising by 3.0 percentage points in the female segment compared to the first quarter of 2021.
The State of the Country Report for 2021 showed that women’s economic participation decreased by 3.3 percentage points from the highest participation rate recorded in 2017, at a rate of 17.3 percent.
The revised economic participation rate for Jordanian women reached 13.7 percent, and it shows that the number of unemployed Jordanians reached approximately 436 thousand, of whom about 114 thousand are Jordanian, according to the figures of the Department of Statistics. The report said that integrating women into all productive sectors, taking into account gender differences, is A national priority, in addition to working to change the prevailing stereotypical behavior that often restricts women’s work to certain jobs, such as education and health, and expanding the appropriate work options for them.
The Executive Director of the Jordanian Strategy Forum, Nisreen Barakat, points out in this matter that there is a difference in the average monthly wage in various sectors, as the gap in the average wage between males and females in the manufacturing industries is 183 dinars, and that the income of women in the education sector is less than that of men, equivalent to 321 dinars on average, which reflects the higher wage gap between the sexes.
In this matter, Fada Al-Ali, the thirties, says that she had to leave her work in a restaurant during the pandemic, after the owner of the restaurant reduced the number of employees, placed additional work on her shoulders that her laid-off colleagues were doing, and extended her working hours as well as reduced her salary, which widened the gap between her salary and the cost. She raised the nurseries to take care of her children, considering that the restaurant owner’s decision was “a form of servitude and extortion, with the aim of expelling her from work,” as she put it.
She indicated that she used to leave her children for long hours in light of the need for income, but “the employer did not leave me any room for maneuver.”
In turn, the coordinator of economic empowerment programs at the Jordan National Committee for Women’s Affairs, Dima Arabiyat, confirmed to the Jordan News Agency (Petra), that the large participation of women in the informal sector, especially in agriculture, means that more women will suffer from job insecurity and inappropriate working conditions. Inclusion of them in the social protection system, which provides various support programs, including maternity insurance and support for nurseries.
Arabiyat pointed out that the Corona pandemic highlighted the importance of prioritizing intervention to mitigate the repercussions of the crisis on women, and for this purpose, in June 2020, the committee issued an addendum to the national strategy for women in Jordan on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on gender equality.
According to Arabiyat, the appendix proposed a package of measures to ensure that macroeconomics prioritizes public investments in the social welfare services sector, given their critical importance in the context of the outbreak of the pandemic and the limited ability of women to participate and lead in all aspects of public life, especially economic ones.
She indicated that women entrepreneurs face skills development and marketing challenges, as well as the need to review policies and the lending environment to ensure that they support entrepreneurship, protect women from social pressures and avoid debt consequences.
Economist Zayan Zawana says that women represent 50 percent of those studying in schools and universities, considering that their failure to work represents a waste of the economy, especially for families that have spent most of their money to educate their girls, which necessitates the concerned authorities to rush to address this aggravating problem. .
The head of the Labor House for Studies, Lawyer Hamada Abu Najma, focused on the profound economic effects of the crisis on most women working in the organized and unorganized labor sector alike, which contributed to increasing tension and psychological pressure, and prompted many women to withdraw from the labor market, noting that The withdrawal of women from the labor market is a major reason for the exacerbation of the problem of unemployment among women.
He called for an increase in the economic participation rate of women by bridging the gender gap in the labor market, given the huge losses incurred by the economy as a result of disrupting these forces capable of making a big difference in the gross domestic product, “if we can build a real partnership between the public and private sectors and remove the obstacles that hinder that”.
According to the World Bank, the pandemic has had a detrimental impact on children’s mental and physical health with high levels of stressful home environments, unequal access to digital services, food insecurity and lack of education, exacerbating their vulnerabilities.
Professor of Administrative and Constitutional Law at Jordanian Universities, Dr. Hamdi Al-Qubeilat, explained that the economic reality of women does not allow them to participate on an equal basis with men, as wealth is usually confined to men and not women, and employers do not like women’s work, as they consider that there are many vacations, illness, pregnancy, childbirth and others Although the legislation was keen to guarantee the right of women in such circumstances, the power of employers to select workers cannot be completely restricted.
Legal advisor and human rights activist, lawyer Haitham Mounir Arefaj, indicated that the salary that women receive may in many cases be less than the minimum wage, indicating that this constitutes exploitation of women, in light of the silence of some of them by not submitting a complaint to the concerned authorities, suggesting the reasons for this to Shyness and her preference not to follow up, and her family’s lack of interest in that matter, even though her income contributes to providing her necessary needs.
The number of insured women who are active participants in the Social Security Corporation is more than 390,000, about 27.5 percent of the total participants, while the number of retired women is more than 52,000, according to the media spokesperson for the Social Security Corporation, Shaman Al-Majali.
Insurance and social protection expert Musa Al-Subaihi said that the small number of women contributors to social security is due to many reasons, including withdrawing their contributions from social security, which entitles them to do so (insurance benefits systems), which leads to their lack of economic empowerment and access on her pension.
And he indicated that a large number of women work in the unorganized sector, and thus remain outside the social protection umbrella of the legislation in force, especially in the labor and social security laws, and the United Nations Women, in the year 2020, called in a research study on the emerging Corona virus crisis to take special measures to support Small and medium-sized businesses that have been negatively affected by the pandemic, with a particular focus on business activities owned by women, such as tax deductions, technical support and training in digital technology and business management.
Director of the Directorate of Women’s Work and Gender in the Ministry of Labor, Dr. Iman Akour, said, “The directorate seeks to achieve main objectives of promoting the participation of women and girls in the labor market within a decent and safe work environment that ensures equal opportunities for both genders.”
It also works to support the economic empowerment of women and girls in all sectors by including gender in legislation, agreements, policies and awareness budgets and by shedding light on women’s work and gender issues, since the establishment of the Directorate in the Ministry in 2006.
Within the framework of crystallizing clear and specific measures for the advancement of women at all levels, the Ministry of Labor has made, according to Al-Akour, achievements, most notably the launch of the Jordanian Commission for Pay Equity in 2011, which continues its work, in addition to the inclusion of Labor Law No. 8 of 1996 and its amendments, 6 articles of consideration In addition to Jordan joining the International Coalition for Pay Equity as the first leading Arab country in this field, and obligating the private education sector to transfer teachers’ wages electronically.
She said that studies on the wage gap in private education and pharmacies have been prepared, as well as support and support for the (Get with the Teacher) campaign led by a group of female teachers in the private sector in several governorates, with the aim of empowering female teachers in the private sector on their rights guaranteed by the labor and social security laws. .
She explained that the establishment of nurseries in the private and public sectors was supported and activated within a project that was implemented by the National Council for Family Affairs and the Ministry of Labor, and ended in November 2020, which managed to establish 76 institutional nurseries, train 709 girls, in the field of child rearing, and employ 451 A girl from the CSC stock.
In the field of legislation and policies related to the Jordanian labor law, the law included a number of amendments related to women’s work, including the inclusion of the definition of flexible work in Article (2), the inclusion of the principle of fair wages in Articles (2, 53, 54), and the exemption of non-Jordanian workers of children of Jordanian mothers From work permits Article (12), according to Al-Akour.
She added that Article (72) has been amended so that a- The employer who employs a number of workers in one place who has at least (15) children no more than (5) years old is obligated to prepare a suitable place for him to have a nanny qualified to take care of them or more. Also, more than one employer may participate in preparing this place in one geographical area. b- The Minister may specify suitable alternatives within instructions issued for this purpose.
She pointed out that paternity leave was added in Article (66), and at the same time, Al-Akour drew attention to the issuance of instructions for alternatives to institutional nurseries for the year 2021.
With regard to integrating gender into the work of the Ministry, Al-Akour explained that the Ministry seeks to strengthen gender-responsive governance, to ensure that women’s ability to access income and decent work and to empower them economically. A working group for gender mainstreaming, preparing a draft policy for gender mainstreaming in the Ministry of Labor, forming a team to integrate gender into the ministry’s budget, and reviewing companies’ internal regulations from a gender perspective.