“Women’s participation in the labour market is a key requirement for comprehensive development and gender equality”- HPC

Monday, 24 August, 2020

HPC stressed that women’s participation in the labour market is a key requirement for comprehensive development, gender equality, and essential for improving the Jordanian labour market, especially that women make up 47.1% of the total population of Jordan in 2020.

In a press release, HPC explained that although women represent almot half of the population, their participation in the labour market is low compared to men according to national studies. The first round of the 2020 Workforce Survey by the Department of Statistitcs, women’s participation in the economy for nearly three decades has been 14% in Jordan, compared to 54% for men, whereas female unemployment rate stands at 24.3% compared to 18.1% for men.

HPC further noted that the 2019 Annual Survey for Jobs Created by the Department of Statistics showed that created jobs for women represent one third of created jobs at 35.5% of total jobs compared to 64.7% for males, while female subscribers in social security reached around 28.2% in 2019.

HPC noted that women’s entry into the labour maret is still below expections, which calls for strengthened national efforts to increase women’s participation and empower them economically. The Population and Family Health Survey (2017-2018) showed that 85.5% of ever married women in Jordan had not worked, compared to 13.8% currently working, and 0.7% seeking work. In addition, age, martial status, number of children, financial status, place of residence and educational level had a direct effect on women’s participation in the economy. The findings of the survey showed that the highest percentage of working married women was within the age group (30-35 years), and that 99% of ever married women between the ages of (15-19) have never worked, compared to 1% currently working.

The results of the survey also showed that the educational level has a direct impact on the economic participation of married women, as 27.6% of working married women hold a higher than secondary certificate, 5.9% hold a secondary certificate, while 12.3% of working married women are illiterate.

HPC indicated that women can contribute significantly to realizing and investing in the population window of opportunity if they are provided with the education and skills needed in the laour market, thereby increasing their participation in the economy and public life, and investing in the health and education of less children as they are the future of the population dividend.

HPC pointed out that according to World Bank statistics in 2019, women's participation rate in the labor market Jordan is the fifth lowest worldwide, and that Jordan ranked 140 out of 142 countries on the Global Women's Economic Opportunity Index.

The Council explained that many women organizations and civil society institutions in Jordan have indicated that women are the most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and that working women in Jordan can be subject to wide-scale damages that women in Jordan can suffer from, as it is expected that many women will risk losing their sources of income, and will suffer more than men due to measures taken to restrict economic and social activities and the high unemployment rates among women.

The Council noted that key challenges include the mismatch between education outcomes and labour market needs, professional isolation as the majority of females work in the education and health sectors, the unsuitable work conditions, lack of adequate transportation, lack of child daycare facilities within the workplace, females refraining from technical and vocational training, obstacles faced by women-led micro and small enterprises as well as the gender wage gap.

To empower women in the economy, the Council recommends expediting the activation of policies within the National Employment Strategy that promote women’s participation in the labour market and conduct periodic reviews of strategies and programs that aim to enhance the role women play in the labour market.

At the institutional level, the Council recommends improving supportive HR systems, activating policies and procedures such as fair pay and flexible work to achieve balance, ensuring that strategies and development plans are gender-responsive, providing supportive services to working women, such as daycare and transportation, to help them balance their work and family responsibilities. At the societal level, a positive perception of women’s participation in the labour market should be fostered.