In February 2014 Women and Girls Lead Global-Jordan coordinated three engagement events in southern Jordan, in collaboration with the Jordan Hashemite Fund for Humanitarian Development (JOHUD). One of WGLG’s main implementation partners, JOHUD has a network of almost 50 community centers and offers development programs in leadership, empowerment, and life skills such as computer literacy and resource management to women and youth.
Twenty-five male and female youth gathered at the JOHUD community centre in Aqaba, a small city on the Red Sea, for the first engagement event. Before the screening of the film, one young man asked “What is meant by gender? I always wondered what it stands for and why experts associate the word with violence.”
Following the film, audience members shared comments on women’s role in the community. “I don’t believe women are half the community”, one young man asserted. “I believe that women are the entire community.” Other topics that arose during the discussion: the importance of allowing girls to study and work, and freedom of movement for women.
The next day’s event at a JOHUD center in the village of Al Qweirah village drew a mixed audience of youth and adults, which generated a healthy debate between the generations. When one older woman said the culture and traditions of their community protect women from violations, a young man in the audience responded that life is changing and holding on to traditions will prevent girls from achieving their educational and professional dreams. “If women want to provide a better life for themselves and their families, they should be able to do that without concern that they will disgrace their families.”
The Women and Girls Lead Global campaign in Jordan, “I Have a Story”, will continue to encourage community members young and old to discuss gender equity and to become proactive in confronting gender-based violence.