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Long Road Ahead for Women’s Empowerment-Princess Basma
01 October, 2019

The Jordan Times
Maram Kayed 

AMMAN — The Linking and Learning Conference Towards Achieving Gender Equality was launched on Tuesday under the patronage of HRH Princess Basma.

Hosted by the Dutch aid organisation, Hivos, in collaboration with the Arab Network for Civic Education and the Prime Ministry, the conference aims to “consolidate the efforts of the civil society in order to ensure the full and effective participation of women, as well as equal access to leadership positions on all decision-making levels in political, economic and social life”, according to conference organisers.
In her opening speech, Princess Basma said: “Despite the achievements around the world related to the empowerment of women and gender equality, results show that there is much that has not been achieved yet.”
The princess expressed her admiration of Joyce Banda, who was sworn in 2012 as the first female president of Malawi, as well as Raya Al Hasan, the first female Lebanese interior minister, calling them “examples of women who were able to reach advanced leadership positions in spite of many obstacles”.
Over the next two days, participants from Jordan, Lebanon, Malawi and Zimbabwe will discuss the most relevant tools and best practices related to systemic change and institutionalising gender equality in policies, programmes and systems, the organisers said. 
Participants and activists representing regional and international organisations working on gender equality and empowerment, in addition to Hivos partners in Southern Africa and the Middle East, are also present at the conference.
Dutch Ambassador Barbara Joziasse, who has served as ambassador to Zimbabwe in the past, stressed the importance of gender equality, in particular in economic participation, saying that “economic independence is the gateway to many other empowerment steps”.
Representing Jordan, Khalil Abdullat, Director of the Human Rights Units at the Prime Ministry, said that the government “gives recommendations related to the situation of women a lot of serious attention with a special focus on the role women play in peace and security”.