The Economic and Social Council of Jordan and the Jordanian National Commission for Women sign a memorandum of understanding with USAID MAKANTI


Women have low economic participation in Jordan; less than one-fifth of Jordan’s women are engaged in the formal workforce. Limiting their economic participation are few options for transportation and childcare as well as negative social norms and perceptions of women’s roles and responsibilities.

Today, Makanati, as known as the Women Economic Empowerment and Leadership Activity, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW) and the Economic and Social Council of Jordan (ESCJ). Through this agreement, all partners will collaborate to promote and disseminate policies that support an inclusive economy and create pathways for social change.  As part of the MoU, Makanati, the JNCW, and ESCJ will establish a “Workforce Policy Lab” to be an open creative space where policy experts from the private, public, and civil society sectors will work together to develop inclusive policies and legislation to guide balanced and sustainable social and economic development.

Leaders from all the signing parties, along with   other participants from the private and public sector attended the ceremony. Daniel Swift, USAID Economic Development and Energy Director, highlighted the importance of the MoU and said, “This is a unique partnership and, we believe, it can be an influential and impactful partnership that will serve Jordan beyond the immediate focus of expanding women’s employment opportunities but also to address the economy in general and employment space for all.”

The ESCJ President, Professor Mousa Shteiwi, said, “This partnership will enhance transparency in data and information related to women's work. It will create follow-up mechanisms through effective participation and constructive dialogue between the public and the private sectors and workers to build a database and conduct practical studies, which ultimately will contribute to achieving national priorities. It will also contribute to overcome challenges and obstacles to enhance women's participation in the labor market.” Shteiwi also stressed that women's participation in the private sector is still modest. There are many obstacles facing economic participation. Therefore, removing these obstacles will be a primary goal of the workforce policy lab unit under the partnership. The ESCJ includes experts from industry and academia, and it promotes social dialogue on matters concerning Jordanian citizens, such as income distribution, and unemployment.

The Secretary-General of the JNCW, Engineer Maha Ali, highlighted the importance of the MoU signing and said that it will enable all partners under the leadership of Makanati Activity to establish cooperation in the field of research, studies, data analysis and policies related to women’s participation in the labor market, which will contribute In strengthening the commission role to stress on women's issues and priorities into national policies, strategies and legislation. The Secretary-General also emphasized the importance of adopting supportive policies and legislation to enable women to enter the labor market and to provide a decent, safe, and encouraging work environment to women in line with the objectives of the National Strategy for Women and the vision of economic modernization of the Kingdom.

The JNCW advises the government on all issues relevant to women’s empowerment and advancement and ensures that Jordan complies with its national and international commitments to improve women’s status and their participation in sustainable development.

Concluding the ceremony, Nermeen Murad Garlick, the Chief of Party to USAID Makanati, thanked everyone and noted that by launching the Workforce Policy Lab, which will be co-hosted and led by both the JNCW and the ESCJ, Makanati plans to facilitate and technically support a consultative and transparent policy dialogue that will engage stakeholders at the national and sub-regional levels. This dialogue will be triangular to ensure that the voices of the government, the private sector and the community are equally represented.

USAID Makanati will provide the technical support and necessary resources to JNCW and the ESCJ, to elevate the knowledge building and dissemination mechanisms on women’s economic participation and employment. The project will improve women’s access to jobs in the private sector, identify and improve women’s pathways to leadership positions in the private and public sectors, and improve perceptions, practices, and advocacy to reinforce equitable, safe, and accessible working environments.