As one in five female employees in Jordan is subjected to some form of violence or harassment in the workplace, experts have urged intensified efforts to address the issue, as female participation in the workplace in Jordan is currently one of the lowest worldwide.
A survey prepared by ActionAid Arab Regional Office indicated that the more the workplace “is considered dangerous, the more there are cases of violence and harassment.”
The survey, which was conducted in partnership with trade unions and the Maal Centre, covered 2,323 workers, of whom 84% were Jordanians, as well as migrant workers in eight industrial zones in different parts in the country.
Around 25% of women who were subjected to violence and harassment at work were trainees, followed by 21% who were paid on a daily basis, according to the survey, which also showed that one in three migrant Arab women reported being subjected to some form of violence, or harassment, while at the workplace.
Women need to speak up
"Unfortunately, I believe the percentage is higher as many women do not report any harassment of violence they are subject to fearing that they will lose their jobs and because they want to avoid any trouble of any sort, or scandal, or accusations that they may face," economist Wajdi Makhamreh told 7Dnews.
"Women should not refrain from reporting any sort of harassment or violence they face, they need to feel safe which is key to increasing the number of women in the labour market. Many of these working women provide for their families, and they want to keep the job, as they have no other source of income, but that does not mean they should keep silent," said Makhamreh.
The economist said all forms of harassment and violence lead to a decrease in number of women joining the labour market, which negatively affects the economy.
Affecting female labor participation
"There are many factors that negatively affect female participation in the economy and this one of them," economist Hosam Ayesh said.
Citing local and international studies, he said womens’ economic participation in Jordan stands at around 22%, which is very low and one of the lowest in the world, said the economist.
"It is not only women who lose when they are subject to harassment or any form of violence, as they either end up quitting or preferring silence, which greatly and negatively affects the economy. The majority of university graduates are women, and if their skills and knowledge are optimally deployed they will help make a difference," Ayesh told 7Dnews.
The survey called on Jordan to ratifying and adopt the International Labour Organisation Convention to ensure that all workers are protected from violence and harassment in the workplace.
The report also urged the preparation of a national action plan, to support the implementation of the convention, and ensure political follow-through, including adequate national budgets for implementation and rigorous monitoring mechanisms.