Jordan, with a population of 7.6 million and GDP US$37.5 billion, has an unemployment rate of 13.2%. Youth constitute 14% of the total population and 21.5% of the working-age population. The male-female salary gap is up to 20% in the public sector where 82% of women are working. Jordan has the second highest average of educational attainment (10 school years) compared to other Arab countries. Participation of youth in civil society seems to be low as less than 9% of Jordanian youth had volunteered in an organization in 2014.
Youth Project for Women’s Political Participation in Ajloun was implemented in five of its municipalities in 2017 and targeted youth (10 males and 10 females), candidates for municipality elections, women and society leaders.
Implementation of programme/ initiative:
The project is implemented by Intermediaries Changing Center (ICC) for Sustainable Development. The project addresses the issue of society’s perceptions towards women’s political participation by mobilizing youth to support female candidates in the 2017 municipal elections in the five municipalities in Ajloun. The project aims at:
- Yielding a generation of youth who are equipped with knowledge of political rights, capable of defending their rights and recognize the important role they play in their communities
- Contributing to the Rule of law “in the sense that constitutional rights are well preserved and applied in a gender-sensitive manner by increasing women’s participation in political life at the local level
- Increasing society’s trust in the role of youth in influencing political processes and as agents of change alongside today’s leaders
- Establishing a youth committee to help and support women candidates in their campaigns in the 2017 municipal elections in Ajloun
Discrimination against women and stereotypical views about the role of women in society were cited among the main challenges that undermined project implementation, as many in Jordanian society still oppose today women’s political role, especially in rural areas.
The outreach of the project included 600 women and men who wish to run for elections (tribal elders, community leaders and women leaders in parliament and former municipalities), 700 young males and females using dialogue sessions with the community, and 10,000 people using audiovisual, media and social media. More importantly, the number of women candidates in Ajloun has increased by 20% from the previous electoral cycles, and nine youth were elected for the decentralized and municipal elections.
The project was implemented at the level of Ajloun governorate within its municipalities and geographical distribution. The project will be implemented at the national level in 2018.
The important features of the project’s success are attributed to the participants’ dedication to the project’s goal as women, men and young people signed a written pledge stipulating commitment to work on gender priorities and issues, prioritizing those of youth and women. The participants consistently attended project meetings, shadowed councils of municipalities meetings, and built partnerships amongst each other.
OECD Youth in the MENA region, 2016
World Bank, 2016
International Labor Organization, 2016
Report of the national workshop on enhancing youth participation in public issues and decision making in Jordan
Date: October 12, 2017