Gender inequality in factories in Zarqaa has multiple aspects that affects women’s professional development and engagement in economic activities in this area in Jordan”, says a recent field study by the Jordan Forum for Business and Professional Women (JFBPW), one of the coordinator of the Gender Equality Local Clusters established by the Foundation.
Over a period of six months, the JFBPW visited 8 factories of small to medium sizes industries (food, clothing, electronics and tobacco) and met with more than 80 female and male workers who talked about their situation and the different inequalities they face in the workplace.While both female and male workers equally suffer of underpayment and the lack of healthy and safe environment in their factories, female workers face additional challenges such as the lack of transportation from/to the factories that are often located in remote areas which hinders women’s safety and discourage them from engaging in such economic activities; bullying and sexual harassment, the lack of day-care at the work place which form many working mothers is a determinate factor for them to quit their jobs; and the lack of professional training and knowledge about labor laws and regulations, in addition to the lack of gendered policies at their factories.
Female workers also mentioned that factory owners often prefer hiring men than women, especially if these men are foreign as they tend to accept more working hours and less salaries.
Besides meeting workers, JFBPW met with factory owners who expressed their willingness to improve workers conditions, especially women, but they added that workers, especially female workers need to improve their professional skills. From their side, the JFBPW called for the improvement of female workers’ conditions.
The JFBPW also met with union and syndicate members and officials and discussed with them possible ways and strategies to promote working women’s rights and to push for equal treatment, as well as to improve working conditions.
These meetings and the aforementioned study are the fruit of phase 1 of the JFBPW’s pilot mobilization action for 2016 (Cycle 2), which is taking place under the framework of the Axis 1 “Strengthening the capacities of actors working for gender equality” of the project "Women of the Future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.
The 2nd phase of the action will consist in a series of workshops and training on labor law, workers’ rights and duties, in addition to specifically-tailored workshops aiming at building female workers vocational capacities.
This platform is part of the Axis 1 “Strengthening the capacities of equality actors” of the Priority Solidarity Fund “Women for the future in the Mediterranean” funded by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women’s Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.