In depth



Women's economic empowerment   

The 2018 Global Gender Gap report ranks Jordan 138 out of 149 countries based on indicators of economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. The socio-economic situation in Jordan is characterized by high unemployment rates, economic inequality, political marginalization of youth and women, and a mismatch between educational skills and skills sought after by the labor market.

A woman is economically empowered when she has both the ability to succeed and advance economically and the power to make and act on economic decisions. Women thus need 1) skills to succeed and advance and 2) power and agency to make decisions. UNDP Jordan works with women to achieve these skills through different programmes that engages in developing sustainable livelihoods for women and their families.

Women’s economic empowerment is an investment in the whole community and the society at large. Effective interventions need to combine hard skills and soft skills for women to succeed and gain power and agency of economic decisions. As women experience barriers in almost every aspect of the labor market including pay gaps, lack of safe transportation, and joggling household chores, entrepreneurship can become a vehicle for economic independence and social change for women and their families. Women’s economic empowerment goes beyond job creation and is also a driver of peace and stabilization for society at large.

Women's political participation

The Women in Politics 2019 map surveys women’s political participation in parliaments worldwide and ranks Jordan 132 out of 193 countries, a rank achieved through the gender quota system that was first adopted in 2003 and which with later revisions and improvements increased the number of seats reserved for women parliamentary candidates from 6 to 15.

Women’s political participation in Jordan remains low. The 2018 Global Gender Gap Index ranks Jordan 138 out of 149 countries and 129 under the political empowerment section. The 2018 Women in Parliament Index ranks Jordan 129 out of 193 countries. While there is no single solution to enhance women’s political participation, there is consistent evidence that multi-level efforts targeting barriers such as discriminatory provisions, preventing politically motivated violence and harassment, lowering spending ceilings on campaigns, and providing transparent and reliable information about the electoral system can facilitate more enabling environments that women can thrive and develop within.

UNDP Jordan works on a number of programmes to increase women’s voice in decision making both nationally and locally. The focus of UNDPs programmes are SDG 5 and SDG 16 issues relating to inclusive policies with a focus on the Jordanian Parliament, public administration and decentralization, and barriers to women’s political participation.

Women, Peace, and Security

To achieve long-lasting peace, prosperity, and development, women’s voices and leadership need to be included in all areas of peace and security efforts. Research already illustrates that when women are involved in peace and security issues, the solutions are much more likely to be sustainable and long-term. Women therefore play a key-role in ensuring Jordan’s currently peaceful situation in a region that is prone to instable conditions.

Jordan is one of 80 countries that has developed a National Action Plan for the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. Resolution 1325 is a landmark achievement of the international community coming together to address the importance of women’s participation in sustaining peace and building security.

The Jordanian National Action Plan (JONAP) is an ambitious document which can propel women’s engagement in local, regional, and national processes of peacebuilding and social inclusion.

UNDP Jordan is working with the Jordanian Parliament to advance the implementation of the commitments under JONAP through working groups on SDGs and Women, Peace, and Security.

Gender Justice

While some progress has already been achieved in the area of rule of law, there are still significant gains to be made in securing women’s equal access to justice especially in relation to personal status law. Especially, personal status law is an area where most countries fail to secure women’s equal access to justice.

Jordan has signed and ratified a number of international conventions foundational to women’s rights including UN Convention of the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Under CEDAW however, Jordan has made reservations on Articles 9.2 and 16 (1-cd-g) on women’s ability to pass nationality to a foreign husband and their children and a woman’s right to custody and guardianship over children after divorce and right to choose family name, occupation and profession, respectively.

UNDP in partnership with UN Women, UNFPA, and ESCWA, conducted the MENA region-wide study “Gender Justice and the Law” to provide a comprehensive assessment of laws and policies affecting gender equality and protection against gender-based violence across 18 countries of the Arab region. UNDP Jordan developed the country profile of Jordan which provides an analysis of whether the country’s laws and policies promote or impede equality between women and men before the law, and whether they provide protection against gender-based violence.