A Research Perspective
Edited by Candida G. Brush, Anne de Bruin, Elizabeth J. Gatewood and Colette Henry
Chapter 7: Women Empowering Women: Female Entrepreneurs and Home-based Producers in Jordan
Haya Al-Dajani and Sara Carter INTRODUCTION While the social inequalities between men and women in the Arab Middle East region have been widely documented (Moghadam, 2004), the inequalities in economic participation and their resulting outcomes have not been as rigorously addressed (Al-Dajani, 2010; Metcalfe, 2007). This is partly due to the lack of available data about women’s economic participation, although various international agencies have made some efforts to address this (CAWTAR, 2007; UNDP, 2006; World Bank, 2007). Data produced by the United Nations suggest that women’s economic participation in the Arab Middle East region is gaining increased importance, increasing by 19 per cent between 1990 and 2003 compared with the world average increase of 3 per cent (UNDP, 2006). However, Arab women’s economic participation remains the lowest in the world (UNDP, 2006). In 2005, an average of 33.3 per cent of women aged over 15 were defined as ‘economically active’ in this region, compared with the world average of 55.6 per cent. Furthermore, Arab women’s participation as a percentage of male economic participation was also the lowest in the world (UNDP, 2006). While the increase in women’s economic participation in the Middle East region over the past 15 years is encouraging, and women’s accomplishments have contributed to transforming the region’s political economy and social demography, great challenges remain. For example, women’s home-based work has acquired new momentum in the region but remains largely ignored (Tomei, 2000). In this regard, female self-employed producers in Jordan, typically engaging in traditional embroidery piecework...
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