ILO Regional Office for the Arab States
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Gender Equality in the Arab States

JULY 2013- JULY 2014
Gender equality forms and integral element of all ILO work in the Arab region including initiatives related to employment, skills and employability, social protection, labour migration, entrepreneurship development, workers’ and employers’ representation, child labour, labour administration, and statistics.
Revaluing women’s work in the occupied Palestinian territory

The ILO met with officials from the occupied Palestinian territory  to consider future measures to promote the right to equal remuneration for work of equal value. Consultations confirmed a relatively high gender pay gap impeding women from entering the labour force. 
Gender-based violence: a concern for Palestinian youth

Students in Birzeit University voiced their views, frustrations, fears and rejection of culturally imposed gender stereotypes during a film making workshop on sexual harassment supported by the ILO.

[Click the images below to see the videos.]
Empowering women in Jordan's garment sector
In cooperation with  Better Work Jordan, the Women in Leadership programme reached Bengali, Burmese, Malagasi, and Nepali women in Jordan's Al Hassan Industrial Zone in Jordan in order to allow them to conceptualise their roles as leaders in dormitories, workplaces, unions and workers’ centres. The programme also called on other women to sign up for training sessions to familiarise themselves with the work of the Jordan's General Trade Union for Garments and Textiles. 
Improving inspection practices on gender discrimination
Jordanian labour inspectors met to improve the identification and assessment of gender-based discrimination in the workplace as part of a drive to enforce fundamental labour standards on gender equality across Jordan. In addition, labour inspectors from Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Yemen were consulted on the latest developments and labour inspection trends in their countries in relation to gender equality.
Women in Trade Unions: Time to Walk the Walk
Trade unionists at the General Federation of Jordanian Trade Unions explored ways to integrate women in the trade union movement as well as build synergies between trade unions and civil society organizations.

Technical meeting on labour law amendments in Jordan

In collaboration with the Ministry of Labour, the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) and the Legal Technical Sub-Committee of the National Committee on Child Labour (NCCL) in Jordan, the ILO supported a technical meeting to discuss possible amendments to the present Labour Law No. 8 of 1996 and its related Interim Act no. 26 of 2010. 
Gender, labour law and its enforcement in Jordanian courts
Jordan's Joint Parliamentary Committee on Labour and Finance, its Bar Association, as well as officials from the Ministry of Labour and the ILO met with judges and lawyers specialized in labour issues to discuss amendments of the labour law necessary to promote gender equality in the workplace. 
Jordan explores gender sensitivity in the workplace
The ILO, Jordan’s National Committee for Pay Equity and various employment specialists attended a three day training session on gender neutral job evaluation methods to bolster pay equity and gender neutrality in Human Resource departments.
Kuwait and Jordan explore methods to ensure decent work for domestic workers

The ILO convened a meeting to identify current gaps and challenges related to the protection of domestic workers in Jordan and Kuwait. The meeting raised awareness of ILO Convention No. 189 and Recommendation No. 201.

For more work on women migrant domestic workers in the Arab region, see the following ILO projects: 

PROWD and Decent Work for Domestic Workers: Advocating Institutional Reform in the Middle East 
Leading Palestinian university promotes gender equality with ILO mainstreaming methodology

Members of the Institute of Women's Studies at Birzeit University in the occupied Palestinian territory were trained to conduct an internal participatory gender audit to conceive recommendations and initiatives aimed at mainstreaming gender in the university's departments and programmes. 
Bridging the gap: the gender impact of the rule of law and its application
The ILO’s Assistant Director General and Regional Director for Arab States Nada al-Nashif spoke about gender issues in the Arab States at the annual Bridging the Gap conference in London, which explored the applicability of laws related to gender and their corresponding effects on women’s opportunities.
Women in the private sector in MENA

In collaboration with the Swedish Institute in Alexandria and the Casa Árabe International Institute of Arab and Muslim World Studies, the Wilton Park Organization organized a conference in Cordoba, Spain to identify opportunities and constraints in women’s economic involvement and empowerment in the Arab region's private sector. ILO representatives contributed to the conference with insights on the role of macroeconomics in women’s economic participation.
ILO Gender Publications
NEW: Making Good Practices Accessible: Labour Inspection and Gender Equality in Brazil and South Africa

In an effort to share the good practices of labour inspectors in South Africa and Brazil, two videos highlighting good practices are now available in Arabic.

[Click the images below to see the videos.]
NEW: Labour Inspection, Gender Equality and Non-discrimination in the Arab States: Guide Book

This guide book builds on a number of global and regional materials on gender equality, discrimination and labour inspections. It provides labour administrations in the Arab states with modern understanding and tools to use labour inspections strategically and enforce gender and non-discrimination principles and rights at work.

Arabic: pdf 6.1 MB
English: pdf 4.8 MB
NEW: Findings of the Assessment of Agricultural Cooperatives in the West Bank: Challenges and Opportunities 

This brief presents concrete strategies to improve the challenging situation that workers face in the occupied Palestinian territory by exploring the full potential of agricultural cooperative enterprises in the West Bank.

Arabic:  pdf 0.3 MB
English: pdf 0.3 MB
Freedom of Association for Women Workers in EPZs: A manual

This manual is an easy-to-use, practical tool for trade unions to reach out to women workers in Export Processing Zones in order to inform them of their rights as well as engage women in activities that promote freedom of association and organization as a key means to improve their working conditions.

Arabic:  pdf 1.7 MB
English: pdf 1.2 MB
A Manual for Gender Audit Facilitators: The ILO Participatory Gender Audit Methodology
(2nd Edition)

This revised Manual provides gender audit facilitators with guidelines and practical instructions on how to plan and implement participatory gender audits (PGAs) in an organizational context. The manual is based on the ILO’s practical experience of piloting PGAs in many ILO technical units, country offices as well as among constituents and UN partners from 2001 to 2014.

Arabic:  pdf 6.0 MB
English: pdf 1.5 MB
Equal Pay - An Introductory Guide

Ensuring that the work performed by women and men is valued fairly and ending pay discrimination are essential to achieving gender equality. 

Arabic:  pdf 4.3 MB
English: pdf 3.1 MB
French:  pdf 3.1 MB
Spanish: pdf 3.2 MB
A Study on the Gender Pay Gap in the Private Education Sector in Jordan

The study covers the gender pay gap in Jordan's private education sector and provides empirical evidence on the wage gap between men and women.

Arabic:  pdf 1.6 MB
English: pdf 0.2 MB
Towards Pay Equity: A Study on the Gender Pay Gap in the Private Education Sector in Jordan

The brief summarizes the findings from the study on the gender pay gap in the private education sector in Jordan and provides empirical evidence on the wage gap between men and women.
Arabic: pdf 0.9 MB
English: pdf 0.6 MB
Towards Pay Equity: A Legal Review of Jordanian National Legislation

This legal review equips government officials, policymakers, practitioners, trainers, as well as 
workers’ and employers’ organizations with the tools to engage in a national dialogue on the need for gender-sensitive policies and laws to promote economic empowerment of women through a more equitable remuneration system.

Arabic:  pdf 0.7 MB
English: pdf 0.7 MB
Issue Brief: A Legal Review of Jordanian National Legislation

This brief summarizes the study on the legal review. It equips government officials, workers’ and employers’ organizations, policymakers, practitioners, and trainers, to engage in a national dialogue on the need for gender-sensitive policies and laws which promote the economic empowerment of women through a more equitable remuneration system.

Arabic: pdf 0.4 MB
English: pdf 0.3 MB
Towards equal pay for work of equal value in Jordan

A study by the National Steering Committee on Pay Equity (NSCPE) in Jordan and the ILO on pay discrimination in private schools and universities in Jordan finds a stark pay gap between women and men and puts forward recommendations for legal amendments to promote equal remuneration for all workers. This video presents a real life case of a teacher who left the private education sector due to unfair treatment in the workplace.
Rethinking Informality in Light of the Arab Uprisings

This paper by  Mansour Omeira provides an overview of the ILO conceptual framework on informality and discusses the implications of informality by focusing on its relevance to the Arab region.

English: pdf 1.0 MB
Waiting for the Bloom: Correcting Policy Biases Against Arab Women's Economic Rights

This paper by Nisreen Alami aims to contribute to discussions on Arab women’s economic participation in the Arab region's transition period following the Arab uprisings. 

Arabic:  pdf 8.4 MB
English: pdf 0.6 MB
Regression or Progress? Barriers to Equality of Economic Opportunity and the Arab transitions

This paper by Nadia Hijab discusses the potential impact of the Arab uprisings on the existing barriers to equality and economic opportunity. 

Arabic:  pdf 7.7 MB
English: pdf 0.5 MB
Women and Economic Empowerment in the Arab Transitions: Meeting Report

An expert group meeting convened over two days to facilitate the exchange of ideas and in-depth discussions around three main gender themes: economic justice; social rights and governance. 
Arabic:  pdf 5.2 MB
English: pdf 0.5 MB
For more information on gender related activities, please contact:

Ms Emanuela Pozzan
Senior Regional Gender Specialist
ILO Regional Office for Arab States

Ms Tina Oulie
Associate Expert on Gender Equality
ILO Regional Office for Arab States

Newsletter contributors: Ayla Ghaziri, Lana Schammaa, Shezza Dallal
Photo credits: ILO
Copyright © 2014 International Labour Organization, All rights reserved.
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