Girls Education

Areas of Activities

01 Girls Education

The successful transition from education into work and secured livelihoods is one of the major challenges currently faced by women in the MENA region. We believe that opening up new possibilities for women to become economically active and make their own decisions about their future career is not only a human right but will also help communities flourish.

Our approach uses education to address cultural barriers that are among the major obstacles which prevent women from entering the labor market. We work with local communities and relevant stakeholders to make women’s economic activity both legitimate and desirable.

Believing in evidence based intervention; the New Venture Fund supported the full establishment of our Jo-Womenomics initiative. As the outcome of over ten years of experiences, the initiative focuses on increasing female employment rates by addressing subjective barriers to women in work through the engagement of local communities. We have assembled like-minded educators, officials from the ministry of education (MoE) and the ministry of labor (MoL) as well as other relevant

stakeholders who engage in dialogue and serve as accountable guardians within their own organizations. Together we have formulated positive messages that are grounded in religion and economics and created high quality educational content such as the Career Counseling Guide and the Work-Ethics Curriculum.

We have established an interactive Jo-Womenomics online portal to facilitate dialogue and the exchange of knowledge. The portal provides access to excellent content developed by the J-WWG and allows different stakeholders to upload materials and share ideas.

As a major success of our initiative, we were able to generate the support of the Ministry of Education to implement our training of trainers program for career counseling in all public schools in Jordan.

Our MENA regional hub brings together girls’ education leaders from different countries and various sectors of society. These leaders work at the forefront towards facilitating women’s transition from education to the labor market. We strengthen their efforts and maximize their impact by providing an opportunity to connect, share and exchange knowledge and gain access to capacity building activities. Leaders also benefit from a global pool of experts and a dynamic source of knowledge, assembled by the Brookings Initiative “A Global Network to Strengthen and Empower Girls’ Education Leaders” of which our regional hub forms an integral part.

Integrating career counseling services in the public schools is crucial to provide youth with the necessary guidance they need to make reasoned career choices. While often a difficult process, choosing the right career not only leads to individual self-fulfillment but also to prosperity for societies as a whole. Jordan currently foregoes that potential as young peoples’ career choices are often based on cultural norms that have little to do with the individuals’ abilities or the demands of the labor market.

In partnership with the ministry of education we make sure that students in almost 2.000 public schools in Jordan are provided with the right guidance to decide upon their future careers. We encourage youth to think beyond gender-based limitations, achieving positive impact on individual and social well-being. Implemented through a cascading training model by means of a training of trainers (ToT), our program allows for scaling while ensuring quality and sustainability.

Our comprehensive Career Counseling Program empowers youth to choose a profession that matches their abilities and passions. We encourage youth to think beyond gender-based limitations regarding work opportunities by focusing on individual qualities. Training modules on positive working culture, self-evaluation and career planning techniques as well as application and CV writing skills help youth to make reasoned decisions and position themselves on the labor market.

To gain a deeper understanding of the subjective barriers to female employment in Jordan and to develop evidence based interventions, the World of Letters conducted a research at the Brookings Institution “Breaking through Glass Doors: A Gender Analysis of Womenomics in the Jordanian National Curriculum” as part of the Echidna Global Scholars Program.

The research is based on the theory of belief mediated change (Alexander and Christian Wetzel) which states that an improvement in objective conditions for women’s empowerment in various domains can only lead to minor improvements if not combined with a change in the beliefs about the desirability and legitimacy of women’ empowerment in those domains.

The study explores the role of the school curriculum in Jordan, specifically the direct and hidden gender biases in textbooks, as a tool for the socialization of cultural and ideological messages about women and economic life. It furthermore examines the legitimacy of the practice of women’s economic empowerment in the work-environment on the example of the gendered division of labor, especially the leadership structure, in the ministry of education (MoE).

The study provides evidence for the necessity to change messaging and foster mind-set change in favor for women’s economic activity. It highlights the importance of engaging different stakeholders from local communities towards making women’s employment both legitimate and desirable.

The research findings together with over 10 years of experiences in working with local communities towards raising female employment rates in Jordan culminated in the development of the Jo-Womenomics initiative.