Swedish official visits women’s economic empowerment projects

Swedish State Secretary for International Development Cooperation Janine Alm Ericson, accompanied by Carin Jamtin, Director General of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Tuesday met partners and visited projects implemented under the regional programme “Promoting Productive Employment and Decent Work for Women in Egypt, Jordan and Palestine”.

Supported by Sida, and implemented jointly by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and UN Women, the programme seeks to support women to benefit from opportunities for better jobs, security at workplaces, equal access to professional development, social protection for families and better prospects for personal development and integration in society, according to a statement.

“When women participate in the labour market their economic empowerment increases, and the society’s economic growth increases. We welcome this opportunity of engaging with partners in Jordan on progress achieved in promoting women’s employment at all levels,” Ericson said.

The visit kicked off with a tour of a school in the Shafa Badran area, where the Swedish delegation met with members of the Coalition of Female Owners of Private Kindergartens and Schools, as well as representatives of the Social Security Corporation, to discuss progress made by Jordan in expanding maternity and paternity policies and the key role of childcare institutions in supporting working women, particularly in the COVID-19 recovery phase.

Young graduates from the “Women in Sports” pilot also joined the meeting and shared their experience venturing into non-traditional employment sectors. With 75 young women who already completed the intensive training course in February, this initiative seeks to provide unemployed fresh university graduates with physical education degrees with secure jobs in the field, the statement said.

“A gender-responsive working environment is a key enabler to support women’s participation in the labor market, particularly in non-traditional sectors. The examples here in Jordan demonstrate that this can also be a smart investment,” said Jamtin

The delegation later visited a woman-owned industrial start up in Amman and engaged in a dialogue with private sector companies that have committed to the adoption of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) – a set of 7 Principles offering guidance to business on how to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace and the community.

Jordan recently marked the 50 WEPs signatory milestone, making it the second highest country with WEPs signatories in the Arab States, impacting on average 36,450 employees by actively supporting a gender-responsive private sector that attracts, retains and promotes women and by promoting better business practices and policies.

Secretary General of the Jordanian National Commission for Women Salma Nims and civil society partners highlighted joint advocacy efforts in supporting the advancement of gender-responsive public laws, policies and systems.

“More companies in Jordan are taking concrete actions to promote women’s economic empowerment in the workplace and in the community. Through our holistic approach anchored in Women Empowerment Principles and national gender equality commitments, we work with partners to develop tools and knowledge to prioritize gender equality in business and investment decisions,” said Aisha Mukhtar, Deputy Representative.

“Through social dialogue between the government, employers and employees, we have helped support women who have been affected by the impact of the pandemic whether it is through expansion of social insurance to cover childcare costs or helping female owners of schools keep their businesses open and not lay off staff, a majority of whom are women,” said Frida Khan, ILO Jordan Country Coordinator and Senior Gender Specialist for the Arab Region.

Source: Jordan News Agency