The Minister of State for Legal Affairs, Wafaa Bani Mustafa, said that the participation of women in the decision-making process and political life is not an extravagance, a luxury, or an option, but rather a necessity and duty for any country seeking to achieve democracy and sustainable development. Bani Mustafa stressed that there is a royal vision and a strong political will to enter the second centenary of the life of the Jordanian state in a spirit of modernization and reform, which was represented in the review of legislation on political reform, where the Royal Committee to Modernize the Political System came out with a package of recommendations for political reform focusing on women, youth and people with disabilities. This came in a seminar organized by the Democratic Institute and the Coalition of Women MPs from Arab Countries to Combat Violence against Women in partnership with the Parliamentary Women and Family Affairs Committee and the Jordanian Women Caucus. The Seminar Titles: “Women’s Gains within the Recommendations of the Royal Committee to Modernize the Political System.” It was held in the presence of a number of MPs, representatives of civil society organizations and relevant stakeholders. The Minister reviewed the most prominent constitutional amendments that were approved and came to benefit and empower women, youth and persons with disabilities; She referred to the amendment of the constitution by adding the word Jordanian women to the title of Chapter Two of the constitution to read “Rights and Duties of Jordanian Women and Men,” and adding paragraphs 5, 6 and 7 to Article Six of the constitution, considering the amendment a historic moment where the protection of women from all forms of violence and discrimination was established in the constitution. Bani Mustafa continued, saying: “After these constitutional amendments that did justice to these groups, we must take our steps forward in amending our legislation, and we should not look back,” stressing that the government is looking forward to approving the two bills for political parties and elections, which are currently referred to the House of Representatives. The Minister reviewed the most prominent amendments in the two bills that enhance and enable the presence of women, youth and persons with disabilities in decision-making places and elected councils, stressing that leadership and decision-making are only complete with the involvement of everyone, and leaving no one behind, in addition to that this improves legislation and makes it more Inclusive, and diversity at the decision-making table serves the interests of all, and is necessary to fairly represent all segments of society. Bani Mustafa said: “Our role is not only to introduce amendments to these legislation, but to follow up their implementation, monitor their implementation and monitor budgets allocated for them. In parallel, we must work to spread awareness of the importance of the role of these segments in society and their participation in decision-making.” In turn, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Women and Family Affairs Committee, Eng. Abeer Al-Jabour, stressed that enriching the discussion on the outcomes of the Royal Committee for the Modernization of the Political System, including the outputs related to the empowerment of women and youth, is of great importance during this stage, which is witnessing constant debate within the House of Representatives in terms of the draft laws on political parties and elections. Jabour explained that the two bills constitute a qualitative leap for the women and youth sectors, in terms of expanding the scope of political participation, maximizing their roles in elected councils and decision-making positions, and advancing, supporting and motivating them, within the political, social and economic levels, to be effective building blocks in building this nation, by raising the participation rates of women and youth alike. In addition, the Chairperson of the Jordanian Women Caucus, MP Dr. Safaa Al-Momani, considered that the outputs of the royal committee constitute an advanced stage of legislative political awareness, which requires that many regulations and instructions must be worked out to implement these legislations, and to ensure the effective participation of women in the public sphere. Politics, calling on women to take advantage of these legislative gains and to actively engage in political and party life. The Acting Director of USAID’s Office of Democracy, Rights, and Governance, Laila J. Andrews Bashan, stressed that the political reform agenda in Jordan is an important step, and that male and female citizens are the core of this agenda, explaining that the active participation of all will confirm once again how important it is for political reform to be inclusive, adding that by promoting the participation of women, youth and persons with disabilities in all of the civil, political and economic spheres, Jordan will take firm steps towards a more prosperous and democratic future. The Seminar included discussion sessions, that hosted the Head of the Youth Sub-Committee of the Royal Committee for the Modernization of the Political System, Dr. Muhammad Abu Rumman, the Chairperson of the Women Empowerment Sub-Committee in the Royal Committee, Samar Hajj Hassan, and a member of the Local Administration Sub-Committee in the Royal Committee, Mai Abu Idaad, in addition to the women MPs: Dr. Fayza. Odaibat and Aisha Al-Hasanat and Amal Al-Shaqran and lawyer Dina Al-Bashir. The participants in the discussion emphasized the importance of the political gains made by women, youth, and people with disabilities, but at the same time, attention must be paid to the challenges facing this reform project, which are bridging the gap between the public opinion and the philosophy of this project through a political discourse and a media campaign that explains and clarifies the most important points in this integrated political project. They stressed the importance of the role of civil society, the media, and influencers in raising awareness regarding this project, which carries with it important opportunities for both women, youth and people with disabilities to participate in political and partisan life, and to bring out these reformist visions and implement them on the ground.
They pointed out the need to consider this reform project in an integrated manner, and to consider increasing the representation of women, youth and persons with disabilities in parallel with the democratic project and the development of political life within the framework of interlinked political environment that guarantees public freedoms.
Samar Hajj Hassan called for the importance for Jordanians to visit the website of the Royal Committee for the Modernization of the Political System on the Internet to view the committee’s outputs and recommendations, and the national vision to modernize the political system, and to highlight the amendments in the parties and elections bills and the constitutional amendments.