AMMAN - HRH Princess Basma on Tuesday underlined the importance of women’s empowerment for various economic sectors to witness growth and prosperity and boost the capabilities of all citizens.
During a ceremony held to launch a joint Jordanian-Danish project on “engendering the public sphere”, Princess Basma expressed hope that the initiative will pave the way to improve the conditions of working women.
In her address, Princess Basma highlighted discrimination against women in the workplace.
She said previous experience by the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW) in gender mainstreaming revealed that organizational cultures are often discriminatory and hinder gender equality within institutions and businesses.
Voicing optimism that the initiative will work to change this culture, the Princess said the project will address such imbalances and strengthen mechanisms within management structures in both the private and public sectors to address gender issues at policy-making and administrative levels.
Overcoming challenges that face women in the public sphere is of critical importance for the country to move forward, she noted.
Addressing the audience, Denmark’s Ambassador to Jordan Thomas Lund-Sorensen highlighted the similarities between the Kingdom and Denmark, referring to their roughly similar size and lack of natural resources, while underscoring their ambition to become leaders in the “new global knowledge society”.
The Danish official said that while the two countries follow different paths to achieve their aims, they both focus on education and the empowerment of people, especially women.
“Speaking of empowerment of people is obviously also speaking of empowerment of women,” he said in his address.
This can be done by assuring equal rights and equal opportunities, he said, adding that empowerment also includes encouraging women to play a more active role in political and economic development.
Underlining the important role Danish women and institutions play in the empowerment of women, he congratulated the JNCW and the Danish Centre for Research on Women and Gender (KVINFO) on their partnership.
The project is one of several activities financed by the Danish government under the “Danish Arab Partnership Programme”, which seeks to promote human rights and good governance, education and knowledge development including free media, gender equality and women’s participation in the development process.
Speaking on means to increase women’s contribution to the labour market, JNCW Secretary General Asma Khader said it was important to amend related legislation.
She called for policies to deal with several related issues such as sexual harassment in the workplace and protecting workers’ rights.
Khader highlighted obstacles hampering women’s participation in the workforce, especially in the private sector, because of prevailing attitudes and stereotypes as well as other requirements such as maternity leave and child care.
According to an international report on bridging the gender gap, Jordan raked 107 among 128 countries, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Suhair Al-Ali said, adding that these results indicate that the Kingdom has not been able to make use of the human resources it has been investing in for so long
Since 2005, KVINFO, Denmark’s Centre for Information on Women and Gender has been involved in partnership projects focusing on gender equality and women’s rights in the Arab region.
The centre offers information and resources on women and society in Denmark, gender research, legislation, women’s history, notable women and much more.