Is it 1993 or 2014? For women in Jordan's economy, not much has changed.....

Published January 27th, 2014 - 09:00 GMT

Jordanian women’s contribution to the economy remained stagnant over the past two decades despite several official and nonofficial efforts to encourage their employment, according to a new study.

Conducted by the Phenix Centre for Economic and Informatics Studies and based on Department of Statistics figures, the study showed that women constituted 14.1 per cent of the local workforce in 2013, up from 12.1 per cent in 1993.

“Despite all efforts to facilitate women’s employment, the figure has not changed a lot since 1993,” said Ahmad Awad, director of the Phenix centre.

He noted that this percentage is one of the lowest in the world, as the international rate of women’s contribution to the economy is 51 per cent and in the Middle East it stands at 18.7 per cent.

The highest rate of women’s contribution to the job market in Jordan is in the education sector, as they constitute 43.2 per cent of employees in this field.

The health sector follows with 14.9 per cent, while the percentage of working women in the manufacturing industry is 7.4.

Most Jordanian women prefer to work in the public sector, according to Awad, who noted that 48 per cent of working women are civil servants.

Meanwhile, Jordanian women own 5.3 per cent of the country’s small- and medium-sized enterprises, according to the figures presented in the study.

The study indicated that one of the reasons behind women’s low contribution to the job market is the recent policy implemented by the government based on World Bank and International Monetary Fund recommendations to reduce employment in the public sector, which is the major job provider in Jordan.

Another reason is related to investment policies implemented over the past two decades that had no interest in providing work opportunities for women, according to the study.

In addition, salaries in Jordan are still low, with 62 per cent of working Jordanians earning JD400 or less per month.

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