With only an estimated 15% of women currently working, there is a critical portion of the country's population that remains disengaged. Females in Jordan face an array of constraints that may prevent them from participating in the labor force, ranging from social traditions to gender bias. The Information and Research Center undertook "Empowerment of Young Women in the Workforce" to examine the cause of this phenomenon.
Using a baseline and evaluation study to determine the dilemmas that young women face, the study found that gender bias in the workplace played a critical role, with a lack of equal employment opportunities for women, particularly in management, and the possibility of pregnancy and maternity leave negatively influencing the hiring of women and the wages and salaries of women. Many women reported feeling hindered by practical concerns like a lack of services such as daycare for children and the prevalence of harassment on public transportation.
A very common theme that women cited when asked about their lack of participation in the workforce was prevailing societal norms: the misconception that only certain jobs are "women's work," hesitance to work far from home, obstacles preventing women from taking on work at night, and perceptions of women's role as a homemaker and caretaker all affected women's participation.
After the survey concluded in April, the National Center for Culture and Arts used the data gathered to design an interactive play titled "Shar al Binat" and conduct workshops to generate dialogue on the issue, which will be followed by a national awareness campaign in August 2014.