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Stories from the field

International Women’s Day- Achieving Gender Equality in Jordan

Debora Flaminia DRAGHI MANOEL in Jordan
Actionaid Hellas (Greece)
About the Project
Alianza por la Solidaridad (APS) field office based in Amman is focusing on women’s rights, their economic empowerment and the eradication of gender-based violence.

Early this month, International Women’s Day was celebrated all over the world, marking a day back to 1908, when thousands of women marched demanding better labor conditions.  113 years later, and the wage parity has not arrived yet for women, and it is still very common to find a large gender pay gap. Even with many improvements and advanced actions throughout time and history, there is much more to be accomplished regarding gender equality.


COVID 19 has somewhat exacerbated the situation, with it being reported that the pandemic could wipe out   25 years of increasing gender equality worldwide. Furthermore, it is estimated that 47 million women and girls have been pushed into extreme poverty since the pandemic started, and because around 740 million around the world work in the informal economy, during the first month of the pandemic their income fell by 60%. Not only informal, but in country with limited economic conditions, women also need to face insecure, dangerous jobs that offer no social protection. Further to this, the services sector has an overrepresentation of women as well, and has been extremely affected with imposed lockdowns.


With regards to livelihoods, Jordan more specifically is one of the countries with the lowest participation of women in the labor market in the world, around 14% only. However, Jordan faces structural issues that hamper women’s entry into labour market, such as lack of support from family and husband, lack of appropriate child-care facilities or unaffordable prices and lack of public affordable transportation. What’s more, there are disparities between the skills of the women’s workforce and the skills required by the labour market, and problems such as harassment at work and a preference by employees to discriminate against women and hire men. Jordanian and Syrian refugees very often end up being unemployed, or investing in home-based businesses, not out of preference, but because in a lot of cases it is the only way to generate income due to the barriers faced in entering the job market. Just like many countries in the world, conditions for women have worsened during the pandemic due to large scale job losses. As a result, many are now turning to negative coping mechanisms such as going hungry, and now cannot go back to work because they earn less than the men in the family, and therefore need to stay at home taking care of their children (whereas the men go to work since they earn more to support the family)


Alianza por la Solidaridad is based in Amman, which has as a priority women’s rights, and well as their active participation in society and their economic empowerment, focusing too on GBV survivors, through the capacity building of service providers, so they will be better prepared to promote women’s rights and gender-sensitive issues. As an EUAV, since I have arrived, it is my first time working in an organization that has  gender issues as a priority. After an intense desk research regarding livelihoods and gender in the country, in order to better understand the different approaches in Jordan, and as the first volunteer in APS to work specifically with livelihoods, my aim now is to develop a strategy and projects that will encourage our people of concern to be self-reliant and more empowered to enter the labor market or open their own business. As a first task, we will focus on local organizations that are also dealing with livelihoods in order to check potential partnerships later on. The idea is to optimize time and resources, fostering cooperation between APS and local organizations and not duplicate work. As as employability and economic empowerment volunteer, I have had the chance to learn a lot about Jordan and its culture and aim at working with more local organizations in order to support local community and refugees.

As an employability and economic empowerment volunteer, my role is to put my knowledge and skills in favor of those that need the most, so they can become self-reliant and not depend on humanitarian assistance.