National Committee for Pay Equity: Gender-based discrimination in the workplace must end

The National Committee for Pay Equity and the ILO host symposium to improve working conditions for women in Jordan.

Press release | Amman - Jordan | 07 October 2015
AMMAN (ILO News) - Senior policy makers and legislators, along with representatives from workers’ unions, academic institutions and international organizations met in Amman on Tuesday (October 6) to address gender-based pay discrimination, unfair working conditions for Jordanian women, and social protection coverage.

The event was held under the patronage of HRH Princess Basma Bint Talal and attended by the Minister of Education Dr. Mohammad K. Thneibat, Ministry of Labour Secretary General Hamada Abu Nijmeh, as well as senior officials from the Social Security Corporation and the ILO.

‘’We would like to congratulate the National Committee for Pay Equity for its exceptional work and most importantly congratulate the teachers that are paving the road to others to ensure fair treatment of women in the workplace,’’ said HRH Princess Basma Bint Talal. “I call upon national institutions to continue to listen and respond to the needs of women and men workers towards a more productive Jordanian society.”

I call upon national institutions to continue to listen and respond to the needs of women and men workers towards a more productive Jordanian society.
HRH Princess Basma Bint Talal
The symposium, which was organised by National Committee for Pay Equity (NCPE), with the support of the International Labour Organization (ILO), focused its discussion on discrimination-n in Jordan’s private education sector, where the gender pay gap is particularly pronounced with women teachers earning 41.6 per cent less than men.

The event called for fair remuneration and better working conditions for private school teachers in Jordan, especially women. It also called for better appreciation of the value of working women’s contributions to the national economy, in a country where rate of female participation in the labour market stands at 12.7 percent, according to the Department of Statistics, Jordan’s official body for statistics.

The NCPE was created in 2011 with the support of a Norwegian-funded ILO initiative, the Ministry of Labour and the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW) to promote fairer working conditions and women’s economic empowerment.

“Women have an indispensable role to play in the development of Jordan's economy, and we should be rightly proud of the strides the country has so far made to promote pay equity and improved working conditions for women,'' said Chief of the Gender, Equality and Diversity Branch of the ILO, Shauna Olney. "This latest initiative should encourage even more women to demand their right to decent work, and encourage others to actively support them. "

A soon to be released ILO study predicts that Jordan could boost its annual output to almost USD$ 2 billion if more women joined the labour force and if they were paid fairly. Economic productivity could increase because of better utilization of women economic power and this would create more wealth that can be shared more equally between women and men.

The NCPE recently launched the ‘’Stand up with Teachers’’ campaign in the city of Irbid, which aims to empower private school teachers to negotiate for fair remuneration and better working conditions.

The campaign is working to make teachers aware of the legislation and sectoral agreements that guarantee their rights in the workplace, such as the Collective Contract that was negotiated in 2014 between the Union of Workers in Private Education and the Owners of Private Schools Union.

According to an ILO-NCPE study published in 2013, 27 percent of female teachers receive a monthly wage that is less than the national minimum wage, which is currently set at 190 Jordanian dinars (about $US 268) and 37 percent receive 190 dinars. The study also found other forms on non-wage discrimination between women and men in the private education sector.

The campaign aims to ensure that women teachers in the private education sector receive at least the minimum wage and eliminate gender-based wage discrimination. Looking ahead, the campaign ultimately seeks to bring the minimum wage of private school teachers in line with their pubic sector counterparts, which is currently set at 300 Jordanian dinars (about $US 423).

A number of Ministry of Labour officials are active members of the campaign’s core team. The Ministry said it is determined to tackle discrimination in the private education sector through an inspection campaign.

“The situation of teachers in private education is fairly unique. There will be a hotline especially for teachers of the private education sector to deal with any concerns they might have. In addition to that, a team of specially trained inspectors is needed to deal with issues related to the private education sector,” said Abu Nijmeh.

During the symposium, the Minister of Education voiced his commitment to working closely with the Ministry of Labour on the issue to guarantee the rights of teachers are met. One of the main commitments of the Ministry of Education included not renewing the registration of schools that fail to abide by the regulations of private schools.

The national committee for pay equity plans to replicate the campaign to other parts of the country and provide capacity-building support for employers and human resource managers of private schools on gender-sensitive human resource practices and remuneration systems. Campaign leaders will also assist in negotiations between women working in private schools and their employers to ensure gender-sensitive and inclusive agreements.

‘’We should be under no illusion about the size of the challenges ahead. Far too many Jordanian women face unfair working conditions simply because they are women,’’ said Dr. Salma Nims, Secretary-General of JNCW. ‘’But we are confident that initiatives like these, with such strong partnerships and a concerted effort, will help bring an end to this injustice.’’

Although Jordan ratified the ILO Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100) in 1966 and the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111) in 1963, the provisions of these Conventions have not yet been articulated in Jordanian law.