There are many Jordanian businesswomen who have proven their presence as an inspirational source. However, the absence of Jordanian women in the Jordanian labor market is still an issue.

 

There are plenty of challenges and obstacles that hinder women's participation in the economic development process in Jordan. These obstacles include culture and traditions that are incompatible with women's desire to enhance their contribution to the Jordanian economic development. Gender discrimination is another issue that may suppress women's aspirations, in addition to other factors that prevent women from having a work-life balance.

 

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Traditions and Culture

 

In Jordan, customs and traditions that we have inherited from our ancestors are part of our culture and identity. However, these traditions may sometimes affect the lives of women negatively in a way that puts an end to their

 

ambitions. For instance, some parents may refuse to let their daughters work. Furthermore, our society's view of working women makes them feel pressured. For instance, society sees working women as rebellious women who probably can't make good wives or mothers because of their busy lives and different priorities. Likely, this forces parents to encourage their sons to go to work and not their daughters.



 

Gender Inequality

 

The Department of Statics in Jordan has recently issued a report that includes some economic indicators for the last ten years (2007 - 2016). The report shows that the participation

rate of females in the Jordanian labor market, in general, amounted to 21%, while it reached 67% for males. Thus, when it comes to the gender aspect, there is a big gap between the contributions of women versus men. Jordanian businesswomen have proven that they can compete with men, nevertheless, the market tends to overlook women in comparison to men.



 

Poor Work-life Balance

 

One of the obstacles that caused the lack of tangible progress in women's economic participation in Jordan is the oppressive working conditions; such as insufficient leaves of absence, the weak transportation system and restricted working policies. When it comes to working policies, there are not in the favor of women sometimes. For example, women are physically different from men, thus, this creates their different needs. Pregnant women face many challenges and go through numerous changes, such as the increase in hormone production and physical exhaustion. Women also need to take maternity leave after giving birth, which can cause some companies to avoid employing women. Moreover, the failure of the Jordanian market to expand and generate adequate work opportunities creates additional obstacles for women in the labor market.

 

Religious Misconceptions

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Although we live in the age of science and knowledge, there is a large segment of society that believes that religion does not allow women to work outside their houses under any circumstances and for whatever reasons. There is no sane person that would think religion may prevent necessitous women from working outside their homes to cover their needs and be active members in their communities.

 

No Possession of her Own Earnings

 

What keeps the flame of passion active in the long term is the existence of a motive. In many cases, income is what makes a worker go on. Some families do not consider women to be independent earners. A woman's income in most cases goes in the hands of her father or husband, rather than her own hands. Thus, women lose the motivation to participate in the labor market.

 

By: Shereen Nidal Nanish


 

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