“The men’s monopoly has been broken” says Jordan’s National Council for Women (JNCW) after Prime Minister Omar Razzaz presented the new government with seven female ministers out of 29. The change of government comes as a response to the biggest demonstrations since the Arab Spring, sparked by increasing dissatisfaction with the high unemployment rates, economic stagnation and poor living conditions. The record high number of female ministers could be seen as a tribute to the women and women’s organisations that played a central role in the demonstrations. And the female ministers are not merely decoration; they head important and powerful ministries such as Ministry of Social Development and Ministry of Public Sector Development.

While 24 % female ministers marks progress for gender equality in politics, more needs to be done as Secretary General, Salma Nims, from JNWC states   “we still need to ensure that the Cabinet has a vision and understanding of gender equality and gender mainstreaming within the work of the government”.  She also stresses the urgency of addressing gender equality issues such as women’s economic empowerment, gender based violence and gender discrimination in laws and policies. Jordan ranks 135 of 144 countries on the World Economic Forum index of gender equality.

KVINFO has previously worked in partnership with JNWC under the Danish Arab Partnership Programme and KVINFO’s current partner, the Jordanian Women’s Union, is an active voice in the call for change that lies behind the demonstrations. The partnership with JWU focuses on four areas: Equal Political Participation; Gender Based Violence; Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights; and law reform to change gender discrimination in legislation.

Read more in Jordan Times and in New York Times.