Jordanian Women for Freedom
Despite the numerous challenges facing Jordanian women to realize their potentials and fulfill their dreams, many chose to use their freedom as a tool to break social and gender stereotypes. In the international women’s day, we invite you to meet some of our long standing female partners and friends, the freedom advocates, and share with you their inspiring stories.
For her freedom of expression is a basic right, and without it one would not have access to other rights. (On a one-year sabbatical) Rana Sabbagh is executive director at Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) – the region’s leading media support network spreading the culture of “accountability journalism” in nine Arab states since 2005.
Dedicating the last 34 years of her career in the field of journalism, Sabbagh is a well-known journalist, columnist and media trainer who promotes free speech, independent media, “accountability journalism” and human rights.
As former chief editor of the Jordan Times (1999-Jan 2002), she became the first Arab female in the history of the Levant to run a daily political newspaper. She was correspondent for Reuters International News Agency (1987-1997) as well as The Times (London) from 2001-2014 and helped establish Jordan’s latest independent newspaper, Al-Ghad.
As women, we have to break these gender stereotypes. Many women are victims of their communities. I am so happy that my parents brought us equally me and my brothers. I believe there are many opportunities to change this. Maybe women need to have better access to legal committees in parliament to work on their rights.
In recent years, entrepreneurship has dominated the realm of innovation. But what about a group of entrepreneurs, business (wo)men, and economist who felt the wind before it comes? We are here talking about one of the founders and chairwoman of the Jordanian Young Entrepreneurs Association (YEA) which was established in November 1998 as a non-profit organization with the mission of creating outstanding young entrepreneurs through idea exchange, fellowship, education, training and advocacy, to enhance entrepreneurs’ skill level allowing them to compete in the global economy.
Hundalieh is also a business woman who had fulfilled her passion to chocolate and established her own chocolate factory - Al-Zaytunah for Chocolate and Chocolography in Jordan, in which she serves as a general manager.
As chair of the FNF Amman-supported YEA, Lina has successfully advocated for changes to Jordanian laws and cultural perceptions to promote a more favorable environment for women entrepreneurs. For example, she helped effect changes to laws to allow Jordanian women to receive a business license while working from home.
What women in Jordan really need is to believe in themselves, to feel independent. They still have the fear and lack skills, and the social culture is not helping them through.
As a Jordanian citizen who comes from transparency and anti-corruption backgrounds, for her access to information is the most significant tool to fight corruption and plays a significant rule in enhancing integrity values and civic participation to achieve sustainable development.
Hilda Ajeilat, the current president of Jordan Transparency Center (JTC), has worked in three public universities, two of which (Al al-Bayt and Al Al-Hussen Bin Talal) were during their establishment period. She has also worked as general manager of Al Hussein Fund for Excellence HFE.
She was one member of an enthusiastic Jordanian group of who are inspired by the Agreement of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, signed by Jordan in early 2005, and who then founded and launched the Jordan Transparency Center (JTC) in 2012. Mrs. Ajeilat was elected chair of its board of directors in Feb 2012.
Jordan Transparency Center (JTC) is a non-profit and non-governmental civil society organization. JTC seeks to consolidate The National Integrity System through partnership and monitoring. JTC is a member of many regional organizations and international coalitions on promoting integrity and combating corruption. It is currently a member of the Coordinating Committee representing MENA in the UNCAC Civil Society Coalition.
I think civic education can be a good opportunity and tool for women to make a better life of their children, society and country. It is a platform for freedom of expression whereby women can turn their aspirations into reality.
Taking part in a positive change is her passion that is why she was so keen to work in the project implementation field, as a trainer, program manager or a consultant with the aim of always creating the multiplier effect through spreading freedom values.
After spending 16 years in the field of civic education, human rights and humanitarian aid, Mai Shalabeya is the founder and CEO her own management consultancy – DI Consultancy in 2018. During her career, she constructed a strong expertise in strategic planning, capacity building and training, civic education, and decentralization.
As a promoter of freedom values, Shalabeya shifted from the private sector to start a new career path in the NGO sector at the Amman Office of the Foundation for freedom for almost 9 years (2003-2012), where she different positions. She has also carried out several consultancy missions for international, regional as well as Jordanian governmental entities; some examples are UNESCO (tackling the reconstruction of the Libyan National Television), ARIJ (tackling strategic planning), CARE (tackling capacity building of community based organizations), in addition to being an expert to the Ministry of Political and Parliamentarian Affairs (MOPPA) on strategic planning.
The legal and labour framework in Jordan is not in favor of women. There is an urgent need to provide childcare solutions for women at the workplace, to implement the flexible working hours system. Women are still facing unequal payments compared to men. It's the role of NGOs and media to play in creating a more efficient dialogue with policy and decision makers to improve women conditions in Jordan.