Maysoon Wael Yousef Alatoom


Maysoon Wael Yousef Alatoom Center for Women’s Studies, University of Jordan

Maysoon Wael Yousef Alatoom is the head of the Department of Research and Communications at the Center for Women’s Studies. She holds a PhD in sociology (gender studies) from the University of Jordan, where she teaches graduate courses in social theory, feminist theory, and concepts of women studies. Alatoom is a member of the Jordanian Association of Sociology and the Arab Association of Sociology. She also runs trainings and seminars on the sociology of women.


A Paradox in the Making: Women’s education and labor market participation in Jordan

Some Arab countries have made impressive progress towards some MDGs, particularly in health and education. But in issues regarding gender equality and empowerment they have lagged behind other developing countries. In Jordan, educational attainment for women and men in 2013 were similar: 51.7 percent for women and 48.3 percent for men. The figures for women mark an increase since the mid-1990s when only 42 percent of women were educated. This increase can be attributed to the government’s commitment to improving literacy rates among women. At the same time, however, the share of women in the work force in 2013 was only 12.5 percent, while in the 1990s it was 12.3 percent. Clearly, women’s participation in the labor force has not kept up with strides in educational attainment. In this paper, I analyze the reason for this gap and suggest that much of it is the result of socio-cultural forces that are stronger than the government program.

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