The year 2007 marked significant achievements for women in Jordanian politics, with seven women elected to the Lower House of Parliament and a record number of women elected to municipal councils across the country.
Those successes were attributable in part to Women Helping Women: the Jordanian Women’s Election Network (WHW), which was organized with the help of NDI and which celebrated its second anniversary in April. To mark the milestone, NDI hosted a reception in Amman featuring a keynote address by Her Royal Highness Princess Basma Bint Talal of Jordan. Princess Basma commended the WHW Network for helping Jordanian women overcome social, economic and political challenges to assume a presence in Jordanian governance.
“It is more important to learn from our mistakes rather than our accomplishments, because it gives us the chance to evaluate our progress and ensure future success,” she said. “We should be flexible, accept change and new circumstances and plan accordingly. At the same time, we should build on past gains.”
The event was also an opportunity for WHW members to network with representatives of ministries, government institutions, parliament, municipalities, political parties and civil society. It featured an expo where other Jordanian women’s organizations and civil society groups displayed their projects and accomplishments for the more than 130 women leaders and activists in attendance.
In addition, the event included a presentation of an NDI original documentary, First Class – Profiles of Women Members of Parliament and Senators in Jordan, 2003-2007. NDI has also published a book that profiles the women legislators.
NDI’s work with WHW is supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in cooperation with a coalition of local organizations and activists. Comprised of over 200 members, the network is dedicated to supporting women seeking elective office by recruiting viable candidates, helping them run effective campaigns, training the next generation of political activists, and mobilizing voters.
NDI conducted programs in Jordan from 1993-1997, supporting the efforts of women candidates for the 1997 parliamentary elections. NDI’s program was reactivated in 2003. Most recently, NDI worked with more than 50 women candidates in advance of the 2007 elections.
Copies of the booklet and documentary on women members of the Jordanian parliament are available in English and Arabic on the NDI website.
Pictured above: Princes Basma Bint Talal, at left, listening to representatives of the General Federation of Jordanian Women as they present their 2007 report and achievements.
Published on May 2, 2008