Gender Gap Index[1]

Gender Gap Index 2014
Overall Economic Participation Political Empowerment Educational Attainment
Rank Score Rank Score Rank Score Rank Score
134 0.597 140 0.358 119 0.073 74 0.991
(Rank: out of 142 countries) (Score: 0.00 = inequality, 1.00 = equality)


Family Code/ Personal Status Law

  • Shari'ah is the main source of legislation for the Personal Status Law, in addition to surf (customary law). Shari’ah courts that decide on matters relating to marriage, divorce and inheritance, administrate the law.
  • Jordanian family law includes provisions that grant a male blood relative (wali) the right to have guardianship (wilaya) over women in marriage in articles 14-15 of the Personal Status Law No. 36 of 2010.


  • Only religious marriages are legally recognised in Jordan, and the Personal Status Law, which sets the minimum legal age of marriage at 18, governs these. The chief justice can lower this in cases where there is a general interest.
  • Although rates of early marriage are thought to be in decline, there are around 16,000 marriages a year (roughly 26% of total registered marriages) that take place where the bride is aged 15 – 19.
  • The Personal Status Law only recognises fathers as the sole legal guardians of children


  • Fathers maintain legal guardianship in the event of divorce, though women are granted physical custody until they reach puberty/ 15 years. However, if a divorced woman remarries she loses custody
  • Men have the right to divorce their wives without condition, however women must petition the Shari’ah court under a narrow range of circumstances

Resources and Assets

  • Under the Civil Code, women in Jordan have the legal capacity to own land and enter into financial contracts, and they do not need their husband or guardian’s approval to do so. Land and property ownership is governed solely by the Civil Code.
  • According to JICA (2009), women own 4.9% of land in Jordan.
  • Women have the same legal rights as men to access financial services, including bank loans and other forms of credit (law not specified). Requirements for collateral to secure loans often disadvantage women, as they are less likely to own property and other assets, making it difficult for them to access credit.


  • There are no provisions in the Labour Code specifically outlawing discrimination on the basis of gender in employment, or stipulating that men and women should be paid the same.
  • Pregnant women in Jordan are entitled to 10 weeks’ paid maternity leave. While on maternity leave, women receive 100% of their salary. Maternity Leave is financed through the Social Security System
  • While there are no specific laws addressing sexual harassment, it is prohibited under the Labour Code, following changes made in 2008. Victims of sexual harassment can terminate contracts and claim compensation for damages, but only in cases of harassment from their employer, not from another employee. The Labour Law was also extended to cover migrant domestic workers.


  • In 2008 Jordan passed the first domestic violence law in the region. The law lays out guidelines for procedures in domestic violence cases for medical practitioners and police officers. The law also includes penalties for perpetrators, including detention of perpetrators for up to 24 hours, and protection orders, but does not criminalise domestic violence.

Political Participation

Women's Political Participation Year Total Source
Number of women in parliament (single/lower house) 2014 18/150 (lower house) 9/95 (upper house) IPU database
% of women in parliament 2014 12% (lower house) 12% (upper house)
Legislated quotas for women for single/ lower house (yes/no) 2014 YES The Quota Project database


  • Women are still not equal to men before the law. There have been several reforms of the Personal Status Law (the latest reform took place in 2010). Despite some progressive amendments such as increasing the legal age of marriage to 18, women’s agency continues to be limited by provisions of male legal guardianship (wilaya) over women in the Jordanian Personal Status Law.
  • Women in Jordan have had the right to vote since 1974


  • The quota system was introduced in the 2003 elections through amendments to Article 11 of the electoral law of 2001. The original amended legislation provided a quota provision reserving six of the 110 seats (5.45 per cent) for women in the national parliament.
  • As part of the 2012 electoral reforms, the quota for women was increased to 15 seats
  • In Jordan’s mixed-member proportional electoral system, 108 members are elected from 45 single or multi-member districts, 15 seats are reserved for women from 12 governorates and 3 Bedouin districts and 27 members are elected through a proportional representation system.
  • For the allocation of the 15 reserved seats for women, the election commission will calculate the percentage of votes for unsuccessful women candidates in district elections by dividing the number of votes they obtain by the total number of votes cast in their constituency. The 15 women candidates who obtain the highest percentage of votes nationwide will be declared elected on the condition that no governorate obtains more than one reserved seat for women (Article 51 of Law no. 25, 2012 on parliamentary elections).
  • 297 of the 970 municipal council seats are reserved for women (amounting to 30% of all municipal council seats).


  • Majilis Al-Nuwaab/ House of Representatives (Lower House):
  • 18/150 (12%) female representatives, since 2013 (135 directly elected, 15 'other': women’s quota)
  • In the 2013 elections, 18 women were elected to parliament — 15 through the reserved seats (12 from each governorate and three from the Bedouin or ‘Badia’ districts), two as part of the proportional representation lists, and one through the majoritarian system in the districts.
  • Majilis Al-Aayan/ Senate (Upper House):
  • 9/95 (12%), since 2013 (appointed by the King)


  • In recent years, there has been increased coverage of gender issues in the media, including gender-based violence and women’s political participation, although some journalists writing on gender issues have faced hostility from wider society and have been accused of being ‘agents of the west’.
  • According to media monitoring carried out by the Global Media Monitoring Project, in the broadcast media, while women were the majority of presenters (93%) and reporters (61%), women formed the subject of news reports in just 13% of cases.
  • Another report by the International Women’s Media Foundation notes that women are underrepresented in managerial and editorial positions in the Jordanian media.

CEDAW and reservations[7]

  • Jordan ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women in 1992, with reservations to the following articles (9:2, 15:4, 16):
  • Article 9, paragraph 2; relating to the transfer of maternal nationality
  • Article 15, paragraph 4; pertaining to a wife’s residence with her husband);
  • Article 16, paragraph (1) (c), relating to the rights arising upon the dissolution of marriage with regard to maintenance and compensation;
  • Article 16, paragraph (1) (d) and (g).

Economic Empowerment[8]

Women’s Economic Participation Year Total Source
Labour Force Participation
Ratio of female to male labour force participation 2014 0.23 World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2014
Labour force participation, female (% of total labour force) 2013 17% World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank
Labour force participation, female (% of female population 15-64) 2012 16.2%
Labour force participation, male (% of male population 15-64) 2012 69.2%
Youth Employment
Ratio of female to male youth unemployment rate (% aged 15-24) 2012 193.6% World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank
Unemployment, female (% of female labour force) 2014 19.9% World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2014
Unemployment, male (% of male labour force) 2014 10.4%
Unemployment, total (% of total labour force) 2012 12.2% World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank
Firms with female participation in ownership (% of firms) 2014 13% World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2014
Boards and Upper Management
Percentage of firms with female top manager (%) 2013 2.4% World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank
Sectors of Work
Agriculture (% of female employment) 2012 0.9% World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank
Agriculture (% of male employment) 2012 2.3%
Women employed in non-agricultural sector (% of total non-agricultural employment) 2014 16% World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2014
Industry (% of female employment) 2012 7.7% World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank
Industry (% of male employment) 2012 19.4%
Services (% of female employment) 2012 91.3%
Services (% of male employment) 2012 78.5%
Vulnerable employment (% of female employment) 2012 2.3%
Vulnerable employment (% of male employment) 2012 11.1%
Employers, female (% of employment) 2012 1.6%
Employers, male (% of employment) 2012 7.1%

[1] World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2014:
[2] All information on legislation has been sourced from the OECD Social Institutions and Gender Index, 2014: Unless stated otherwise.
[8] All information on economic empowerment has been sourced from the World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank: Unless stated otherwise.