Community perceptions top families' concerns

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AMMAN - Jordanian families are more worried about how they are perceived by their own communities when bringing up their daughters, rather than how existing laws protect their female members, according to a survey released Sunday.

Titled, "To be a Girl in Jordan: A Legal and Cultural Bias", the survey, funded by the USAID through the Rule of Law Project, covered 2,011 households in six governorates.

Nermeen Murad, director of the King Hussein Foundation’s research centre, which carried out the survey, revealed the findings of the household questionnaire yesterday.

"We conducted this survey to find out about the culture and the environment in which girls are raised in Jordan," she said.

The initial findings indicate that Jordanians worry more about what will be said regarding the way they bring up their daughters, rather than anything else, including how laws deal with family issues in general, Murad told The Jordan Times.

She added that the researchers analysed the respondents’ perceptions of how their opinions and practices are influenced by religion, tradition, society, family, tribe, law and media.

The findings, according to Murad, hinted at hidden child labour when it comes to girls’ duties at home.

"The findings revealed that girls spend more time doing household chores than the boys, which takes them away from playing and studying and this could be interpreted as hidden child labour," she noted.

The aim of the project was to contextually map the state of the girl child in Jordan and determine the manner by which cultural ideology practised by the community influences the formulation of the law.

Also during Sunday's event, Rule of Law Project Chief of Party Walter Kuencer questioned the impact the girl child will have on Jordan as it struggles to find answers to the questions being raised in the region recently.

“Tomorrow, next week, next month, next year is in the hands of young Jordanians and that includes young women who are raised under the cultural, religious, tribal, socio-economic and legal influences,” he said.

To better understand the possibilities of this immediate future, "we need to know more about these young people who will determine it", Kuencer added.

"If through advocacy programmes we change the way girl children are raised, how their culture and legal systems treat them, and thus, how they see themselves, then we also have an opportunity to influence the next generations' future," he noted.

Murad said the next step is to analyse the results and publish the study in a publication called "The Book".

"This document should form the basis for how stakeholders will deal with the girl child in Jordan," she added.