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In June, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW) published booklets that educate citizens on women’s rights and associated legal issues. Released at an Amman event attended by 40 non-governmental organization representatives, members of parliament and religious leaders, the publications address topics such as marriage, divorce, alimony and social security.
With ABA ROLI support, the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW) established a working group of four Jordanian women lawyers, who together with JNCW and ABA ROLI staff, developed more accessible, plain-language resources.
The World Bank’s 2013 gender assessment forJordan found that women are marginalized at home, at work and in matters of civic and political engagement. Laws and social norms that discriminate against them lead to women having less authority than men. Additionally, ABA ROLI’s three-year-long efforts to raise awareness about women’s rights through public sessions, home visits and individual counseling uncovered a critical lack of relevant and accessible information on legal issues and about procedures targeted to the needs of women. In response, ABA ROLI—through a U.S. Agency for International Development-supported effort—partnered with JNCW, an umbrella organization of civil society organizations that promote women’s rights and combat gender discrimination and violence.
“As the umbrella organization for all issues related to women,” said Maha Shomali, ABA ROLI country director in Jordan, “JNCW was the ideal partner to help develop a series of booklets targeting Jordanian women of all backgrounds. This was consistent with JNCW’s strategy and experience.” While JNCW’s previous workshops and publications have enhanced women’s knowledge of their rights and the general public’s understanding of women’s rights, no resources existed that comprehensively addressed cross-sectorial legal issues—including personal status and labor laws. Further, the few resources that existed were too technical for non-lawyers.
With ABA ROLI support, JNCW established a working group of four Jordanian women lawyers, who together with JNCW and ABA ROLI staff, developed more accessible, plain-language resources. The lawyers drew upon their first-hand knowledge of the challenges that women face, as they have been working for years to help women resolve legal issues that range from alimony to labor rights to gender-based violence. Shomali said that the working group employed ingenious ideas to present the topics covered in the booklets, which include financial procedures and court proceedings. The materials use hypothetical scenarios, and questions and answers to elaborate those steps women can take to remedy legal issues. They also provide information on government agencies and other organizations that provide women with legal and other services across the kingdom’s 12 governorates. JNCW plans to introduce the materials in electronic format and to expand the series to cover other issues that impact women.
To learn more about our work in Jordan, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at firstname.lastname@example.org.