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Last Updated: Monday, 15 March, 2004, 00:07 GMT
UN examines Jordan women's status
By Dale Gavlak
BBC News, Amman

Jordanian women
Some women in Jordan are regarded as their family's property
The United Nations has released a major report in Amman on the status of women in Jordan.

It examines how much involvement they have in the political and economic arenas, and statistically analyses violence against women, the first time this has been done in the Hashemite Kingdom.

The UN's goodwill ambassador in Jordan, Princess Basma Bint Talal, said while women here had achieved a great deal, much more work needed to be done to promote their participation in society and protect them from harm.

She said that violence against women was one issue for example, that had not been fully addressed either by the government or by non governmental organisations.

"This is now changing and we need to really capture this momentum because it is a subject, it is an issue that none of us can accept or allow for whether it is at the highest decision-making levels, whether it is government-level or the work of activists and NGOs," she said.

"We need to look extremely, extremely seriously at this issue so that both support and services are better geared to women who are suffering."

While more women are entering the job market in Jordan, some reported that they face discrimination in the workplace and may also lack the necessary qualifications to compete against men.

Unemployment is running high for both women and men at 14 and 22% respectively.

Political ambitions

The study also found that more Jordanian women are stepping forward to run for the country's parliamentary elections than in the past.

But the UN's ambassador said much more had to be done to encourage women to seek public office.

She said that it would be better for women to seek office at local and municipal levels to gain the necessary political experience before entering national politics.

Jordan is celebrating International Women's Day - officials said it was a good time to take stock of what has been accomplished and what work still lay ahead to enable Jordanian women to become full partners in developing their country.

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