Women perform 66% of the world’s work, produce 50% of the food, earn 10% of the income and own only 1% of the property. Out of the world’s 188 elected leaders, 16 are women. Moign Khawaja of Outernationalist.net profiles a few women from different regions of the world who are leading a life that is inspirational in its own right and discovers their problems, challenges and ambitions.
NADIA SAID DAHBOUR – 24 – JORDAN
“Educate a woman and you educate her family. Educate a girl and you change the future.” Queen Rania of Jordan
The common impression about our rulers is that they make big statements but there is little in substance about them. Can the same be argued about Jordan? As far as my opinion is concerned, I believe that Queen Rania is spearheading women’s education in Jordan. She is a true role model for millions of Jordanians who is helping the young women get educated in the country. Thanks to her patronage, Jordanian women enjoy authority in public organisations, private companies or in the government ministries.
My name is Nadia Said and I’m 24 years old. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in English and French literature and graduated from Al-Zaytoonah Private University in 2008. I continued my studies and enrolled in a Master’s degree programme in International Business from the University of Jordan in Amman, considered as “The Mother of Jordanian Universities” due to the fact that it is the largest and the oldest university in the kingdom.
Queen Rania is known for her energy, efforts and commitment for education at home and abroad. According to the 2009 Forbes listing, she was ranked as the 76th most powerful woman in the world. Her vision is see Jordanian women performing very well in all walks of life and work hard to earn success.
According to 2010 estimates, 80% of the total enrolled students in the University of Jordan were females. Women enroll in various majors such as engineering, medicine, languages, business and accounting.
Young women in Jordan earn higher education by working their feet off. We don’t do it just because we have to but because we want to and love to. We like to avail our potential and do not take things for granted. We acknowledge the challenges being a working woman but we also seize on the opportunities to better our lives. And I’m not talking about women who belong to the elite. This is the distinguishing trait of women who come from the middle and working class families. They believe in hard work and professional ethics.
Gone are the days when a typical urban Jordanian woman was totally dependent on close male relatives e.g. her father, brother or husband. My best friend works as a company support officer at the French Chamber for Commerce & Industry in Jordan. A good friend of mine, who hails from Jordan’s second city of Azarqa, works at an immigration office in Amman and supports her family. Though my father, Doc. Said Dahbour, is a neurologist and an associate professor at Jordan University, I believe in carving my own name and working hard to fulfill my ambitions.
Many women enjoy high positions in companies, organizations and governmental institutions in Jordan. There are female ministers, highly qualified doctors, engineers, businesswomen and other professionals who command influential roles in every walk of life.
However, this does not mean that life for women in Jordan is a bed of roses. We achieved successes but also face many challenges in our male-dominated society. Jordanian women strive hard to seek change in all aspects of life and they have been very successful so far. Yet, the challenges that rise from customs and traditions of the Jordanian society and the Arab culture are extraordinary, especially when the desire for change stems from the women.
Some of the challenges that Jordanian women face today include honour killings, domestic violence and growing number of single working women who remain unmarried.
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