Abla Abu Elbeh

Secretary General of the Jordanian People's Democratic Party HASHD

First Euro-Med Regional Dialogue: From strengthening the role of women in society to gender-equality policy making

 February 3rd 2016, Amman



The answer depends on: The proximity (whether close or far) of these conclusions from the sociopolitical situation in Jordan. It also depends on their proximity to the concerns of women in our region.

And so the answer is yes!

Since in these conclusions it was mentioned that strengthening the role of women is a political and social issue – and we like to call it a national issue. Situating women’s issues at the level of national issues will mean that the Kingdom of Jordan has obligations towards women and towards women’s rights agreements and pacts, both regional and international, that the Kingdom has signed.

The conclusions reported on "social tolerance" towards discriminative policies against women, I wanted to suggest a better expression: "social conspiring" because of the prevailing discriminatory culture; for what could explain the official reluctance to modify the sixth article of the constitution to clearly state equality in rights and duties between men and women, despite the common experience of open civil and social life in this country? It is compliance with prevailing discriminatory culture.

As for the effect of the bloody conflicts in the Arab region on women's rights, to make it clear: The conflict has never stopped between the forces of progression and reaction. The conflict in the period before the defeat of the Arab Spring was marching slowly but surely in favor of women's rights. Now, however, and because of the sectarian, religious and ethnic turns these conflicts have taken with their discriminative nature, women's rights are no longer a priority. In fact, these conflicts have created an antithetical environment to the interests of women, especially with their junction with reactionary and sexist frameworks, and especially now that religion, with all its ideological and societal weight, has taken a strong hold of them.

And here I would like to say that identifying challenges and difficulties doesn't mean succumbing to them, but coming up with new and necessary ways to fight for women's rights.

So I suggest that all national forces unite in an alliance that includes executive and legislative powers, as well as civil society organizations, in hope that this alliance results with an advanced strategy to face the current retreat in a practical and deliberate manner.  

Ms. Abla Abu Elbeh

Feb 2016