Sweden’s State Secretary for International Development Cooperation visits projects on women’s economic empowerment in Jordan

Press release | 10 June 2021
H.E. Ms. Janine Alm Ericson, Sweden’s State Secretary for International Development Cooperation, accompanied by Ms. Carin Jämtin, Director General of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and H.E. Alexandra Rydmark, Ambassador of Sweden to Jordan, meet with private sector and civil society partners of the 'Work for Women' project implemented by UN Women and ILO with the support of SIDA. Photo credit: UN Women/ILO_Abu Mohammad.
Amman, Jordan - During her first official visit to Jordan, H.E. Ms. Janine Alm Ericson, Sweden’s State Secretary for International Development Cooperation, accompanied by Ms. Carin Jämtin, Director General of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), had the opportunity to meet partners and visit activities implemented under the regional programme “Promoting Productive Employment and Decent Work for Women in Egypt, Jordan and Palestine”.

Supported by Sida, and implemented jointly by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and UN Women, the programme seeks to support women to benefit from opportunities for better jobs, security at workplaces, equal access to professional development, social protection for families and better prospects for personal development and integration in society. 

“When women participate in the labour market their economic empowerment increases, and the society’s economic growth increases. We welcome this opportunity of engaging with partners in Jordan on progress achieved in promoting women’s employment at all levels” said H.E. Ms. Janine Alm Ericson.

The visit kicked off with the tour of a school in the Shafa Badran area, where the Swedish delegation met with members of the Coalition of Female Owners of Private Kindergartens and Schools, as well as representatives of the Social Security Corporation, to discuss progress made by Jordan in expanding maternity and paternity policies and the key role of childcare institutions in supporting working women, particularly in the COVID-19 recovery phase.

Young graduates from the “Women in Sports” pilot also joined the meeting and shared their experience venturing into non-traditional employment sectors. With 75 young women who already completed the intensive training course in February, this initiative seeks to provide unemployed fresh university graduates with physical education degrees with secure jobs in the field.

“A gender-responsive working environment is a key enabler to support women’s participation in the labor market, particularly in non-traditional sectors. The examples here in Jordan demonstrate that this can be also a smart investment” said SIDA Director General, Ms Carin Jämtin

The delegation later visited a woman-owned industrial start up in Amman and engaged in a dialogue with private sector companies who have committed to the adoption of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) - a set of 7 Principles offering guidance to business on how to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace and the community. Jordan recently marked the 50 WEPs signatory milestone, making it the second highest country with WEPs signatories in the Arab States, impacting on average 36,450 employees by actively supporting a gender-responsive private sector that attracts, retains and promotes women and by promoting better business practices and policies.

Dr. Salma Nims, Secretary General of the Jordanian National Commission for Women, and civil society partners highlighted joint advocacy efforts in supporting the advancement of gender-responsive public laws, policies and systems. Under the joint programme, this is paired with capacity building opportunities to national institutions on gender-responsive budget to respond to the COVID-19 impact on the Jordanian economy and communities, including women-owned businesses.

“More companies in Jordan are taking concrete actions to promote women’s economic empowerment in the workplace and in the community. Through our holistic approach anchored in Women Empowerment Principles and national gender equality commitments, we work with partners to develop tools and knowledge to prioritize gender equality in business and investment decisions.” said Aisha Mukhtar, Deputy Representative.

“Through social dialogue between the government, employers and employees, we have helped support women who have been affected by the impact of the pandemic whether it is through expansion of social insurance to cover childcare costs or the helping female owners of schools keep their businesses open and not lay off staff, a majority of whom are women” Frida Khan, ILO Jordan Country Coordinator and Senior Gender Specialist for the Arab Region.

About UN Women:
UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide.

About ILO:
Since 1919, the ILO has been bringing together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men. It is the only tripartite agency of the U.N.

About Sida:
Sida is a government agency working on behalf of the Swedish parliament and government, with the mission to reduce poverty in the world. Through our work and in cooperation with others, we contribute to implementing Sweden’s Policy for Global Development (PGU).

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Marta Garbarino
Media Focal Point
UN Women Jordan
Tel: +962 (0) 77 848 4915
Email: marta.garbarino@unwomen.org

Ms. Reem Aslan
Chief Technical Advisor and Gender Technical Specialist
International Labour Organization
Tel: +962 (0) 79 567 2704
Email: aslan@ilo.org