25 years of gender mainstreaming in Jordan : evolution and progress
Since the Beijing Platform for Action in 1995, countries have taken many approaches to gender mainstreaming. Gender mainstreaming policies were created to be context specific to account for the variety of ways that policy can promote gender equality. However, the variety of gender mainstreaming approaches today limits researchers and practitioners’ ability to measure or compare their impact. Governments’ gender mainstreaming policies have evolved as policy makers learn from the best practices of other countries. This requires in-depth case studies on their program’s implementation and impacts. This case study on Jordan’s gender mainstreaming policies and its evolution in the last 25 years explores how Jordan’s gender policies were impacted by the Beijing Platform and have evolved since then. Although Jordanian women have made remarkable gains in their life expectancies and education statuses in the last 25 years, their participation in public life continues to be limited. In this paper I use primary source analysis of Jordan’s gender mainstreaming policies, its program records, and historical research of Jordanian feminist organizations to understand how the Jordanian government has negotiated its gender mainstreaming policies to address the demands of different sectors of society. Although Jordan is a monarchy, Royal family must still negotiate the demands of the parliament, tribes, Islamic political parties, and the military. The Royal family’s patronage of gender mainstreaming policies has often pitted them against those interests. This paper explores how gender mainstreaming policies have been shaped by those domestic interests as well as pressure from international donors and feminist organizations. I argue that these competing interests have led to gender mainstreaming policies that are gender aware and targeted but have yet to be transformative. This paper offers analysis of how Jordan can continue its progress and transformation in gender policies in the next 25 years.