Re-valuing Women's Employment: Implementing Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value in Jordan Project

The gender pay gap (GPG) is a worldwide phenomenon that refers to the difference between male and female average earnings. In 2010, for the first time, a Policy brief on Pay Equity revealed the extent of the GPG in the country, highlighting the manufacturing, health and social work and education sectors as the ones with the most prominent GPG (41.3%, 27.9%, and 24.5% respectively).

As a first step to addressing the GPG a Policy Roundtable on Pay Equity was organized by the ILO in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour (MoL) and the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW), convening the main stakeholders. Participants in the roundtable agreed that there was a need to build a knowledge base on pay discrimination to enable decision makers to formulate evidence-based policies to promote pay equity. Additionally, the establishment of a strong institutional framework for action on pay equity and legislative amendments were among the concrete activities proposed to close the gender pay gap in the country.

Following these recommendations, the National Committee for Pay Equity (NCPE) was established in 2011 within the framework of a ministerial decree. Co-chaired by the MoL and the JNCW and with membership from employers’ and workers’ organizations and civil society organizations, the NCPE remains the responsible unit for coordinating the implementation of all activities with the aim of closing the GPG in the country and therefore increasing women’s participation in the Jordanian labour force.

Since its establishment, the NCPE has created three subcommittees: a Legal Subcommittee, which focuses on enhancing policies and legislation for equal pay and making recommendations regarding legislative amendments; a Research Subcommittee, which focuses on conducting in-depth research on pay-based discrimination to inform policy and programmes; and a Media and Advocacy subcommittee that is in charge of raising awareness of the gender pay gap and the work of the NCPE to reduce it. Each subcommittee has produced, with ILO’s support, tangible outputs that have been used as tools to fulfil their mandate.

In 2013, the Legal Subcommittee issued a Legal review of the Jordanian National Legislation and an Issue brief that is used to lobby for amendments to the Labour Law. Also in 2013, the Research Subcommittee commissioned a Study on the gender pay gap in the private education sector in Jordan and an Issue brief. The study revealed marked inequalities between men and women in the private education as well as unfair employment practices.

The study has raised awareness among those primarily affected by these inequalities i.e. women teachers, who have initiated, with the support of the ILO and NCPE, a community organizing campaign that seeks to empower women teachers to claim for equal remuneration and improved working conditions. Since its establishment in 2012, the Media and Advocacy Subcommittee has prepared awareness raising material such as a Questions and Answers document on Pay Equity; a video portraying women’s situation in the labour market in Jordan and an awareness raising campaign #StopDiscriminationAtWork.