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The introduction of the women’s quota in the Jordanian electoral law in 2003 was a significant step forward for women’s rights in Jordan and the Middle East in general. Gender quotas were first introduced with 6 parliamentary seats reserved for women in 2003, 12 in 2010 and then 14 in 2013. The 30% reservation of seats for women in the municipal council in 2011 was another boost for female political participation in a country that remains largely conservative and tribal.

However, many women's rights groups feel that the Jordanian government is not heavily invested in promoting women's rights as honor crimes, violence, rape and other core issues are still taken lightly in terms of law and practice.

Although the quota has helped increase participation in parliament and municipal councils, the representation of women in the executive and judicial branches remains minimal. Moreover, the low level of participation of women in the labor force is considered a key challenge to their empowerment, despite the fact that 55% of graduates over the past decade are females.

In spite of improvement in women's rights in Jordan, legal restrictions and social norms remain a very important barrier to their full participation in public life. Personal and family life are governed by complicated legal provisions and restrictions that are often in favor of men - such as marriage and divorce procedures, inheritance laws, male guardianship required for women to conduct basic transactions, etc. Tribal culture and patriarchy affect females in particular, as they are relegated to second-class citizens, which makes it difficult for them to enter politics independently.

 

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