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Jordanian Women

Jordan has made strides in women’s empowerment issues, although pressure groups demand the amendment of laws guaranteeing women’s rights. Jordanian women hold senior governmental posts, including ministerial positions, and often run their own businesses.

A special quota system was introduced in 2003 to ensure that women will play a role in Parliament, guaranteeing them a minimum of six seats. Last year the number of seats was increased to twelve, and, during the sixteenth parliamentary elections in November 2010, thirteen women were elected, twelve through the women’s quota and one through direct competition in Amman.

Women’s education has been given much attention, and many gains have been made in providing equal learning opportunities for girls; school enrolment of girls between the ages of 6 and 15 was 97.7 percent in 2008-2009.

The Jordanian National Commission for Women recently presented to the Parliament a 29-page statement demanding legal reforms to achieve justice and equal opportunities for men and women. The statement commended the country’s investment in women’s education and training but said that, unless women are given equal rights as citizens and their constitutional and human rights are respected, their gains will not be maintained.

They asserted that certain laws needed amendment, including that the elections law should guarantee that 30 percent of the total parliamentary seats be allocated to women, whereas the current quota reserves just twelve seats for them, out of a total of 120. They also called for amendment of the citizenship law to allow Jordanian women to pass their nationality on to their children, to allow non-Jordanian women married to Jordanians to obtain citizenship within a certain period, and to allow Jordanian women married to non-Jordanian men to reclaim their Jordanian nationality at will.

They also asked that, under the residency law, the non-Jordanian husband and children of a Jordanian woman be automatically granted residency in the kingdom. They also demanded additions to the 2010 personal-status law – for instance, to allow joint custody after divorce, to increase the minimum age at which females are permitted to marry, and to allow women to file for divorce without providing justifications.

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