The Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW), initiated and headed by HRH Princess Basma, is a semi-governmental organization which advocates and promotes for women’s diverse issues. It was established by a cabinet decision in 1992 and has since gained recognition as the authority on women’s affairs in Jordan’s public sector while it also represents the Kingdom at regional and international levels in matters pertaining to women.
JNCW′s mission is to support the mainstreaming of a gender-equality perspective in all policy areas and to narrow the gap between formal acknowledgement of women′s rights as detailed by legislation and the actual societal attitudes towards women.
Its purpose is to engender positive tangible transformation in the status of women in order to eliminate all forms of discrimination against them and to achieve their effective and equal participation with men in all political, economic, social and cultural arenas.
It aims to achieve its goals by focusing on improving the status of women in national development and strengthening women’s legal status.
The JNCW has also played a leading role in women’s advocacy through its activities that encourage women to participate in economy, politics and decision making.
These efforts have been a direct support in the continually increased profile of women in Jordan’s political sphere, as increased numbers of women are campaigning and securing seats in both the municipal and parliamentary elections.
Among its highlighted achievements, the JNCW, with Her Royal Highness’s guidance, formulated the National Strategy for Women in 1993.
This strategy was adopted by the Jordanian Government, and set a precedent for the Arab region.
Following the numerous developments that have taken place at the national and international levels, and to build on progress made since its ratification, Princess Basma launched the process of up-dating the National Strategy for Women in December 1999.
The revised strategy was developed by the government in 2006. It highlights women’s participation in public life, legal amendments, human security and social protection, economic empowerment, as well as information and communication.
JNCW has also been responsible for mainstreaming gender issues into Jordan’s Socio-Economic Development Plan for 1999-2003.
This achievement by JNCW was significant, as incorporating a gender perspective within the Five Year Plan allowed for women’s issues to be recognized as equally important to those of men in sustainable development and human rights, and also distinguished the particularity of women’s issues by stressing the need to eliminate all forms of discrimination.
As Chairperson of JNCW, Princess Basma has been involved in leading the commission into making amendments to a number of laws and legislation concerning women, and in increasing the profile of women in national and local decision-making bodies.
Some of the main achievements were amendments to personal status and passports laws, social security and civil retirement laws as well as the Municipality Law.
A key highlight of JNCW efforts was the ratification by Jordan of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and its publication in the Official Gazette.
It is only with the constant and widespread involvement of Jordanian women at all levels and in all fields of social, political, economic and cultural development, that Jordan will continue to offer its own specific model of progressiveness and tolerance in this volatile region and to the wider world.