Female MPs Call for Coalition to Address Women Issues

March 15, 2017

AMMAN — Women parliamentarians on Monday called for the formation of a cross-house coalition to address women’s issues and work to amend all laws that discriminate against women.
The call came during a workshop titled “The Role of the Parliament in Implementing Jordan’s Commitment towards the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)”.
 
Held on the occasion of International Women’s Day at Le Meridien Hotel in Amman, the event was organised by the Jordanian Women Parliamentarian Forum (JWPF), the Arab Women Parliamentarian Forum and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD).
 
In July 1992, the Kingdom signed CEDAW, which was ratified and published in the Official Gazette in August 2007 with three reservations on citizenship, housing and women’s mobility clauses in the Personal Status Law.
In February 2009, the government, with the approval of a Royal Decree, decided to lift its reservations on paragraph four of Article 15 of the convention, which gave women freedom of mobility and choice of residence without the consent of their husbands or other male family members..
 
During the workshop, Jerash deputy and head of the JWPF, Wafaa Bani Mustafa, stressed the need to form a coalition in both houses of Parliament made up of men and women who believe in women’s rights.
 “We should form a coalition and name it the Coalition for the Jordanian Women. We have to leave a good mark and make sure we achieve something during our four-year service,” Bani Mustafa said.
She also noted the need to acknowledge differences in opinions and beliefs when addressing these issues, including CEDAW itself, as it will be essential to reach a common ground.
 “We have to also admit that there is a lot of discrimination against women and we have to be smart in making use of CEDAW to fight discrimination and reach equality and justice for all,” Bani Mustafa added.
Central Badia Deputy Rasmieh Alkaabneh highlighted the need to lobby Parliament to push for legislation that will work to protect and advance the rights of women in society.
 “It is our responsibility to push for women’s rights in collaboration with the women’s movement because if we do not do it, no one else will,” Alkaabneh said.
 
However, Islamist deputy Hayat Mseimi (Zarqa 1st District) expressed reservations about CEDAW.
“CEDAW focuses on the issue of sex and considers religions as the enemy and a hindrance. This is extremely dangerous,” Mseimi said.
Islamist Deputy Huda Etoum (Jerash) also criticised CEDAW and “the Western approach to our issues.”
“Women in the West experience horrible violations but they come to us to criticise us about our problems,” Etoum said.
 
Earlier in the day, Minister of State for Prime Ministry Affairs Mamdouh Abbadi praised the event, saying  it is important for “women deputies to unite and tackle all laws that discriminate against women”.
“I fully support female MPs in addressing CEDAW and coming up with strong and practical recommendations that will ensure its full implementation by the government,” Abbadi told the gathering.
WFD Jordan Country Representative Lubna Mahadeen said she was hopeful the workshop would come up with the necessary recommendations to ensure that CEDAW clauses are implemented properly.
Mahadeen told the gathering that WFD will continue supporting women parliamentarians in the region by holding meeting and other events that work to empower women in their societies and address the issue of violence against women.
 
The participants are expected to come up with recommendations highlighting the expected role of Parliament in implementing CEDAW, according to MP Reem Abu Dalbouh (Mafraq).
 
Jordan Times
March 13, 2017