As far as I can remember, Jordan had women engaged in political life and decision making in many fields.
Women in Jordan could be ministers, senators, judges, etc.
His Majesty King Abdullah continued his great father’s support for women’s rights, in Jordan and the Arab world, and there is an increased role for women in the public sector.
Her Majesty Queen Rania has been a great advocate for education for women, especially in poor regions, believing that “as you educate a woman, you educate the family. If you educate the girl, you educate the future”.
The new Cabinet does not have a single woman on board. This is something we are not used to, and, yes, disappointing to some.
Many critics started pointing fingers and coming up with analyses tackling this specific issue, and many women showed their discontent using social media.
The main Jordanian opposition movements have few or no women among them. At the same time, most TV interviews in Jordan or international media invite Jordanian men in the opposition, most (if not all) speeches during protests are delivered by men, the absence of women’s role and influence in the opposition and political parties — whose slogans, ironically, preach justice and equality — is conspicuous.
I find it strange that critics and journalists have not criticised the obvious absence of women in political life, their lack of impact and power in the Jordanian opposition, yet criticised this Cabinet.
In all countries swept by the Arab Spring, women’s role has diminished and their rights have been compromised and ignored. The Arab Spring has been a setback for many Arab women, especially in Tunisia and Libya.
Today, when we are on the verge of new elections, I urge women to run for Parliament and practise their national duty by voting for those with a track record of supporting women.
We, Jordanian women, are accustomed to being treated equal to men and being part of the decision-making process. Let us not allow those who protest in the streets keep us in the back rows, using us as a number enhancer, and deprive us of what we took for granted and thought we would never lose.
Our voice has to be heard; let’s employ it to our benefit and pave the way for a better future for Jordan.
Deema I. Alam,