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Jordanian Labor Watch: International Women’s Day comes amid tragic conditions for women in Gaza

The Jordanian Labor Watch stressed that this year’s International Women’s Day comes amid tragic conditions for women in Gaza, as a third of the martyrs in Gaza are women, not to mention the destruction of all means of health care for pregnant women, their displacement, and starvation.

In a statement issued on the occasion of International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8 of each year, the Jordanian Labor Watch of the Phenix Center for Economic and Information Studies stated that what is happening in the Palestinian territories, especially in Gaza, including major massacres, displacement, and starvation committed by the Israeli occupation, has not only violated the rights of women but also all indicators of development, human rights, and issues related to all components of Palestinian society.

The Jordanian Labor Watch stressed the need to stop the genocide committed by the Israeli occupation in the Gaza Strip, in addition to stopping the daily attacks and arrests of Palestinians in the cities, towns, and villages of the West Bank, especially with the approach of the month of Ramadan.

As for Jordan, the Jordanian Labor Watch called for expanding options for women in Jordan at the level of policies and practices to enhance their economic participation, in addition to improving working conditions in Jordan in general and for women in particular, to make them more attractive to them and enable them to enjoy basic rights and principles at work and decent work standards in all their dimensions.

The Jordanian Labor Watch said that despite the efforts made by Jordan to improve the situation of women, the economic participation rate for women has been at low levels for about ten years, reaching 15.1% during the fourth quarter of last year (2023) compared to 53.8% for males, a slight increase of 1.1 percentage points compared to 2022.

The lack of progress towards increasing women’s economic participation in Jordan is mainly due to the unfriendly working conditions that most workers in Jordan, both men and women, suffer from, especially the low wage levels, but women are exposed to more violations of their basic rights than men, as thousands of them are forced to work in the unorganized sector.

The Jordanian Labor Watch explained that the poor public transportation network, especially in the governorates, consumes a large percentage of the wages of male and female workers, in addition to consuming long periods of their time while going to and returning from their workplaces, which contributed to putting more pressure on many women to refrain from joining the labor market.

Many companies in the private sector still refrain from establishing nurseries for the children of their female workers in accordance with Article 72 of the Labor Law, leading many of them to leave the labor market in order to devote themselves to caring for their children.

In addition, the gender wage gap in Jordan is still evident despite the similarity of work requirements, nature, and job titles. The gender wage gap reached about 14% in favor of men in the private sector, 13.8% in the public sector, and 10.3% in both the public and private sectors.

Al-Marsad pointed out that the economic participation gap between men and women still intersects with the gap in the choice of specialties, which is known as “job stereotyping,” as most women still tend to choose educational and health specialties, unlike men, so we find that the most concentrated sectors for women are health and education, and this is due to the weak career and vocational guidance in Jordan at the level of the Ministries of Education and Labor, which often leads to choosing specialties that are saturated in the labor market, which increases unemployment rates among women.

In addition, the Jordanian Labor Watch pointed out that it is undeniable that many working women are exposed to violence in their work environment, especially verbal violence, as this is a major obstacle that prevents women from joining the labor market.

As for women with disabilities, the Jordanian Labor Watch explained that there is a lack of jobs suitable for their disability due to the absence of a facilitative work environment that helps them to work and continue working, in addition to some employers using disability as an excuse not to hire them despite their skills.

The Jordanian Labor Watch recommended activating the monitoring role of the Ministry of Labor’s inspection teams and adopting more effective policies in inspection mechanisms based on gender justice.

It also recommended strengthening the public transportation system and means of transportation, especially in the governorates and their villages, to meet the needs of women to get to their workplaces easily and safely, and reconsidering funding the cost of the public transportation system so that it is commensurate with workers’ wage levels, which are often lower than the minimum wage.

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