Women’s movement to convey demands to Parliament

by Rana Husseini |             Feb 19, 2013             |             22:08

AMMAN –– Representatives of the women’s movement in Jordan said they plan to convey their demands on issues related to women’s rights and legislation to the newly elected Parliament, and female MPs in particular.

Newly elected female deputies recently urged the women’s movement to provide them with a list of demands to fight for in the Lower House.

“We are 18 women now and a minimum of 10 deputies can file a request to amend a law in Parliament. We want the women’s movement to help us sustain the fight for our rights under the Dome,” Madaba deputy Falak Jamaani said during a February 9 lecture.

“We realise that women in Jordan still face many problems and that there are discriminatory clauses that have to be addressed and we need the movement’s knowledge and experience in this regard,” added Jamaani, who became the first woman to win a seat in the Lower House through direct competition after the quota was introduced in 2003.

But one activist pointed out on Tuesday that a list of demands has been submitted to previous parliaments.

“We have presented a list of demands to former MPs, including female deputies, but we will do so again because we have faith that our demands will be adopted and debated under the Dome,” Jordanian National Commission for Women Secretary General Asma Khader told The Jordan Times.

Amneh Zu’bi, president of the Jordanian Women’s Union, echoed Khader’s remarks, noting that female MPs have been notified about the movement’s demands in the past.

Nevertheless, both activists said they will arrange meetings with the 18 female MPs to reiterate the movement’s demands and to urge them to form lobbies in the Lower House to tackle laws that discriminate against women.

Zu’bi said cooperation with the new female MPs is essential and “we should draft a working programme to unite efforts and demands”.

“We really hope that all female deputies will have the will and desire to work for our causes and to stay in constant contact with civil society,” Zu’bi said.

One of the most important demands for the women’s movement, according to Zu’bi, Khader and activist Emily Naffa, is to increase the women’s quota when the Elections Law is debated in Parliament.

“Having only 15 seats designated for women is not enough and we want more women to be present in Parliament to form a stronger bloc when issues related to women are debated under the Dome,” Zu’bi said.

Naffa agreed, noting that increasing the quota will strengthen their “presence and stand on important matters related to women and the nation as a whole”.

The 2012 Elections Law increased the number of Lower House seats allocated for women from 12 to 15, guaranteeing that women will have a representative in each of the Kingdom’s 12 governorates and the three badia districts.

A total of 215 women ran in the January 23 parliamentary elections to compete for seats in the 150-member Lower House. Eighteen women won: 15 via the quota, two through national tickets and one through direct competition.

Laws on the women’s movement list:

• Citizenship and Residency Law: It deprives Jordanian women from passing on citizenship to their husbands and children

• Article 308 of the Penal Code: It pardons a rapist from punishment or legal prosecution if he marries his victim and pledges to stay with her for five years

• Social Security Corporation Law: Gaps include not allowing employed or retired women to benefit from their dead husbands’ pensions and not allowing a deceased woman’s family to benefit from her full pension

• Landlords and Tenants Law: It allows widows to stay in a rented property for three years after their husbands’ death. Activists demand that widows be allowed to stay as long as they pay the rent on time



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