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Planning Ministry, WEF launch ‘Closing Gender Gap Accelerators’ initiative

AMMAN — The Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, in partnership with the World Economic Forum (WEF), on Tuesday launched a virtual initiative titled "Closing Gender Gap Accelerators”. 

The Ministry’s Secretary General, Marwan Rifai, on behalf of Planning and International Cooperation Minister Nasser Shraideh, stressed that Jordan becoming a member of the accelerators network to bridge the gender gap is an important step that will enable Jordan to benefit from the experiences of other countries and pave way for further cooperation between public and private sectors in increasing women’s economic participation, according to a ministry statement.

Expressing pride in the partnership with the World Economic Forum, Rifai noted that Jordan has succeeded in bridging the gap in the fields of health and education, highlighting the need to work on reducing the gap pertaining to economic participation and political empowerment.

Over the years, the low economic participation of women has led to the loss of GDP revenues, the secretary general said. 

He also referred to the most important achievements of Jordan in closing the gender gap, such as amending the Labour Law in 2019 to ensure equal wages and non-discriminatory practices between women and men in the workplace and imposing penalties on any employer who discriminates in paying wages between employees on the basis of gender, in addition to amendments related to the establishment of nurseries in the workplace to promote a suitable work environment for both genders.

Rifai underlined the importance of the Ministerial Committee for the Empowerment of Women, which was established in 2015 to unify government efforts in the fields of women’s empowerment and leadership as well as to ensure coordination and accountability regarding the fulfillment of commitments related to women’s human rights.

Through this committee, the national strategy for women was developed in Jordan (2020-2025), he said, adding that its action plans are currently aligned with the Government's Indicative Executive Programme (2021-2024).

He stressed that the current regional conditions, repercussions of the Syrian refugee crisis and spread of the coronavirus pandemic have impeded the progress made in various fields, especially the empowerment of women, adding that this requires redoubling efforts to increase women's participation in the labour market. 

The initiative is distinguished by a partnership between the private and public sectors and the World Economic Forum, read the statement. 

Headed by the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation and the Crown Prince Foundation from the public sector, Al Hikma Pharmaceutical Company, Union Bank, and Oasis 500 from the private sector, the initiative also includes the Business and Professional Women Association as the local coordinator with the support of UNICEF.

The initiative aims to identify key economic gender gaps, develop public and private sector contributions to narrow these gaps, and commit relevant stakeholders from both sectors to a three-year action plan.

Jordan is among the 10 countries that are considered the first in the world and the Arab world to implement the initiative, and it is expected that an action plan will be crafted for the next two years, with the participation of representatives from the public and private sectors.

A range of 50-100 companies in the private sector will be selected to work with during this period, according to the statement. 

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