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Experts recommend intensifying efforts to support women working from home

Experts within the Jordanian government and private sector recommended setting regulations for and supporting women’s work from home, noting that the programs launched during the pandemic to support the heavily impacted sectors did not include the home business sector. The experts highlighted the need to create a comprehensive framework that supervises, directs, supports, and enhances women’s ability to develop their home businesses in order to stimulate their economic participation.

This transpired during a Zoom session held by the Phenix Center for Economic and Informatics Studies in partnership with CARE International in Jordan and supported by the  Nationale Postcode Loterij (National Postcode Lottery) Charity, titled “Women Working from Home: Business from Home during the Coronavirus Pandemic”.

Participants in the session stressed the need to provide guidance, training opportunities and capacity-building opportunities for women to increase their awareness on the legal, financial, administrative and technical aspects of managing and developing their projects. Experts noted that one area in which many home-based businesses require training is in the marketing of their products.

Participants in the session called on relevant stakeholders to remove obstacles faced by women in the establishment of their enterprises, to support and regulate this sector (in partnership with the private sector), and to facilitate the registration and licensing procedures for home businesses. Nadeem Abdel Samad (Phenix Center) discussed some of the factors that affect the economic participation of women in Jordan in general, examining the multi-layered social and legislative barriers to the effective economic participation of women, which include: cultural barriers, lack of employment opportunities, lack of childcare support for working mothers.

Ammar Abu Ziad, the Director of CARE Jordan, said that the organization focuses primarily on linking humanitarian aid and development programs that help women transition to independence and empower them economically. Rania Al-Suwaiti, President of Women Helping Women Network-Jordan, said that despite the fact that the home-based businesses sector in the Kingdom is expansive, there are no statistics or a precise database showing the number of women working from home. Al-Suwaiti said that the home business sector needs to be reformed in a systematic manner, especially in relation to the registration or licensing of home-based projects. She called for the establishment of an entity that would be tasked that would be responsible for regulating and providing support to women’s projects, as well as providing them with training opportunities to improve their business skills.

Manal Alwazzani, the Director of Durrat Almanal for Development and Training (DMDT), pointed out that women face many obstacles when registering their businesses, including high registration fees. Many women face legal, administrative, financial, and technical challenges when registering or licensing their projects, according to Wazzani.

Rawan Abu Sall, Head of Women’s Economic Empowerment Division at the Ministry of Labor, stated that the Ministry is only responsible for managing the formal sectors and that it is “not responsible for informal sectors such as home businesses. Abu Sall stated that unregistered employers and business owners in informal sectors were outside the scope of protection of the Ministry of Labour.

Engineer Ghida Al-Hadid, Director of the Department of Social Facilities and Programs at the Greater Amman Municipality, said that the Secretariat seeks to empower women economically and achieve decent livelihoods for them by facilitating and developing the remote work regulation bylaws in order to allow Jordanian and Syrian women to start their businesses and projects with the least cost and simplest possible procedures. Al-Hadid pointed out that the Amman instructions on licensing the practice of domestic occupations have been divided into four sub-sections and that 2334 licenses in 21 regions were approved in 2020. Al-Hadid concluded by proposing the formation of a national committee composed of some civil society institutions and relevant government entities to examine and resolve the challenges and obstacles faced by women working from home.

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