Academic journal article Journal of International Women's Studies

Barriers Hindering Jordanian Women's Advancement to Higher Political and Leadership Positions

Academic journal article Journal of International Women's Studies

Barriers Hindering Jordanian Women's Advancement to Higher Political and Leadership Positions

Article excerpt

Abstract

Purpose: The purposes of this study were to identify barriers hindering Jordanian women's advancement to higher political and leadership positions and to identify main actions/strategies to facilitate Jordanian women's advancement to higher political and leadership positions. Methodology: A cross sectional survey was used where both quantitative and qualitative data were collected utilizing a self-administered questionnaire. A convenience sample of 500 Jordanian women was selected from women working in political and leadership positions in various settings including government, Non Government Organizations (NGOs), business, educational and academic institutions. The Study involved a self administered questionnaire with closed and open ended questions that include the demographic and personal questions, barriers hindering Jordanian women's advancement to higher political and leadership positions and main actions/strategies to facilitate Jordanian women's advancement to higher political and leadership positions. Findings: In their endeavour toward advancement in leadership positions in work and community, women face major obstacles and impediments. These barriers encompass a wide range of obstacles, which include political and legal, personal, family, socio-cultural, and economic barriers. Discrimination against women was a cross cutting issue for all barriers. Political and Legal support, awareness raising and empowerment of women were main issues suggested by women leaders to enhance to higher political and leadership positions. Women should work hard to stick to the heart of the Awakening and fight rather than demand by the name of democracy for their rights in politics and the building of their nation. Recommendations: The study suggests establishment of solid gender-sensitive policies, empowerment of women by strengthening their leadership abilities and capabilities, awareness raising of society about women role in development and involvement of women in the making of democracy and political reform to play an active role in all higher national committees and task groups of political reform

Key words: Arab Spring, Barriers to women advancement, Barriers to women advancement, Democracy, Jordanian women

Background

During the last twenty years more efforts have been exerted to improve women status in the world. The women journey to attain their rights is replete with different waves of struggles, progress and drawbacks all around the world. In the past, women struggled to (gain) their right to vote and now women in many countries struggle to guarantee their seats in parliaments and governments. Efforts at the international and national levels are concentrated on introducing quotas to increase women representation at the higher decision making level with more focus on the numbers of women elected representatives. In its Article 3, The United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights emphasizes the importance of equal right for men and women on all civil and political rights (United Nations, 1966).

The world realizes that there is no democracy without women as there is no democracy with a paralyzed half of the world population. Moreover, there is no social and economic development and no prosperity without democracy. Many researchers found a positive relationship between socio-economic development and political democracy (Diamond, 1992; Huntington, 1991; Inglehart, 1997; Muller & Seligson, 1994).

Debate on democracy definition and scope has been active especially with the expansion of the concept of democracy over time to include the number of people rather than the type of people as well as human rights. However, with all the expansion in the definition in Democracy, competition, participation, and civil liberties are still considered as at least three main components of democracy (Paxton, 2000). According to (Karl & Schmitter, 1991), inclusion "all native-born adults" has been emphasized as a criterion for democracy by many authors (Karl & Schmitter, 1991). …

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