You’re PROBABLY thinking: What? How can you say that? How can a population even function with only one half, males? You are completely mistaken with your title, women in Jordan have reached authoritative positions like the Parliament, Judges in courts, Ministers, lawyers, doctors, business women, activists, and many many more. So please Badia, do not say that women in Jordan are outcasts or that they cannot mix with ‘Jordan’ (by the way ‘don’t mix’ title is inspired by the one and only Morsi)
I am here to tell you why and how, day by day, women are becoming strangers in their own homeland and are rejected as part of a complete healthy society. If they are accepted however, there are certain conditions that they must comply to.
The other day, my dad dragged me at 9 am in the morning to Kasr Al Adel (A local court in Jordan) to print out a copy of a document. I was really excited to go, you know, being a law student, I wanted to see how and where the magic of justice happens. We had to park the car somewhere which is a 5-minute walking distance to the place. As we walked, I felt I was an alien. I kept looking at myself, was there something wrong? Were my LONG pants torn or something? Did my 3/4 sleeve shirt send an offensive message? or did my hair which was in a very mess bun attract all those eyes? The staring didn’t stop of course, I wonder why though. Why in the hell would you leave the paper you are working on to stare like an animal at a normal human being walking down the street? I wonder why you almost crashed your car just because there was a FEmale in front of you and you had to look? I truly thought something was wrong with me, until it hit me, whatever I am wearing, no matter what style I do my hair or what t-shirt I choose to wear, they will stare. I am a female, and it seems that in this society, it is a phenomena.
A week ago, I took my little brother after a long day of studying, to Jabal Amman just to walk and have some fresh air in one of my favourite streets in the world. My brother is 6 years younger and I always felt that I was the one who had to protect him, but while we were walking past ‘men’ smoking hookah on the edge of the pavements and staring at ANY female, literally ANY female walking, I felt he had to protect me. We even couldn’t take a photo of us with the whole of Amman behind us because the area was so male dominated that we really felt discomfort. Veiled, unveiled, long pants, short pants, long sleeved, short sleeved, THEY STARED. WHATEVER YOU ARE WEARING, WHATEVER YOU ARE DOING THEY WILL STARE. And this disgusts me.
My friend the other day told me to be careful as some men are targeting women driving alone at night and cornering them with their cars in order to teach them a lesson to not drive at night again. WHAT?! They even may go to the police and claim you hit them.
Don’t get me started with the laws which discriminate against women and make it legally acceptable to rape, marry and kill a female (read a previous blogpost on this).
A woman, in Jordan at least, is someone who is expected to get married and raise a family and that is it. She is not expected to walk down the streets, go to a public authority, go to a ‘male dominated’ restaurant or street, enjoy a night walk or even a day one. It saddens me, I study in Edinburgh, UK, and I NEVER once thought about what would I wear here or there, what street should I take or even thought twice about passing some men down the street. I left the library during exam times at 12 and 1 am, and yes I was scared, it is still a scary world filled with bad people, but never have I, during my walk back home, thought that people will come scream at me or harass me for walking at night. Why do I feel safer and more COMFORTABLE walking in FOREIGN countries surrounded by strangers, than when I walk in my OWN COUNTRY around people from my homeland?
Yes women may have, statistically, reached high positions in Jordan, achieved the impossible, created businesses and lead initiatives, but in reality, women are still rejected, judged, harassed, stumped upon and neglected. And if we do not do something about it soon, we are going to lose half of our society.