Earlier this week in the JT (this stands for Jordanian Times and not "Journal Televise" - the abbreviation used for the French TV news), there was a very interesting article about "Women participation" in the Jordanian labour force. Feminists out there you better take a seat: only 14.9% of the workforce is represented by women - really bad considering the average in the whole Middle East - North Africa region where it's 28% (not glamorous, but slightly better).
I don't really know what kind of positions women hold in this country. I guess where I have seen the highest concentration is at our bank. Wherever you go, it is always men serving you: bars, restaurants, the baker, the fruit stalls. I have seen one female police officer since we arrived 5 months ago, even in baby shops, shoe shops or female clothes shops you have young men - and with it really loud music, usually techno. When you do groceries you'll see a woman here and there, but even most cashier positions (which are typical a woman's job in Europe) are held by men. Higher skilled positions, like teachers, journalists, lawyers, I don't have any relation with at all so I don't know.
The same goes for driving, for exemple. When we arrived to Amman, I started straight away - I thought I could as well just do it. The first day or so when I took the car and Bobs wasn't there, the doorman very sweetly commented on the fact that I was taking the car by myself and added something along the lines " my wife has always lived in Amman and she doesn't know how to get to City Mall!". We joked about it and I have asked him since if he has paid some driving lessons to his wife!? Probably not. But then there is the other problem what does she do with her 9months old baby while she is driving anyway? The use of baby seats is not wide spread and you usually see the kids crawling around in the car, poking their faces out on the windows and the mums sitting with the smaller ones on their lap (those ones also poking their faces out).
So why is it? Can Jordanian women not work and have a family? Don't they want to? Is it pure sexism? Just tradition? Are the Jordanian educated women leaving Jordan to get a well paid job somewhere else? I don't have an answer for all these questions, I certainly don't know the Jordanian population well enough to comment on them. But I know that in France for exemple, every year new reports come out and wage discrimination, job parity are always discussed.
Am no feminist - am a stay at home mum, I liked working, but I don't believe that I can work and give 100% and be a mum and give 100%. Of course if I had no choice I would have worked, but I can stay at home and I love it! However some women crave for independence, want to have their own money, a career, get out of the house - all this I totally understand - and they should have the possibility, no, the right to work, make good money (or at least as much as men!) and enjoy it as well.