Date of Meeting: 12 March 2019

Meeting Organizer: 



United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia

ISJC Staff Present: Dr Laurelle Smith 

Reporter: Dr Laurelle Smith 

Which SDG does this topic cover? Focus on SDG 5

Type of meeting: CSW Side Event 

Brief summary of presentation of information made

This meeting focused on work in the Arab context with presentations from Jordan and Tunisia.

Work in Jordan

  • Jordan has taken major steps towards trying to build the gap for women in areas of health, education, employment etc.
  • Jordan has submitted a Voluntary National Review and has committed to the implementation the SDGs.
  • A National Committee for Women has been established to help implement SDGs related to gender.  
  • The legal age for marriage in Jordan is 18 years and the age with exception has been raised to 15 years within the last two year (if an exception to the 18 year minimum age requirement for marriage is to be granted, there must be a maximum 15 year age difference between man and woman, the husband must have no other wives, and the marriage must not prevent a girl from continuing her education). However, there are still fights for the exception to be removed completely.
  • Jordan has maternal leave, but it is a token because it is very short. There is a need for maternal leave and paternal leave.
  • Work on women’s issues in Jordan faces challenges with the culture and legislation. Women’s issues are seen as ‘elitist’ issues. But these are issues facing women in the margins too. There needs to be a strengthening in the accountability of implementing. In order to implement the SDGs, there needs to be available resources and budgets.  
  • The speaker spoke of the desire for Jordan to be among the states that have made a lot of progress on this issue of gender inequality and the desire to be an excellent example to others, but for that to happen, the government needs to be on board and to provide budgets.


Work in Tunisia

  • In our culture we believe man and woman are born equal, but it is our culture that gives directions and the prescribed roles according to gender, in how we proceed with our lives. We need to reassign these roles.
  • ‘Raise your sons in a way that they were born in a time other than you”
  • We need to affirm vertical and horizontal equity.
  • We are in the process of setting up women’s shelters because we need to rehabilitate women and men equally. This hasn’t been done in the past. 
  • Tunisia now has three months maternal leave with full pay and another four months with half pay. It can be used by the mother or father. This changes the stereotypical role within the family.
  • Tunisia needs to deal with motherhood, migration and the building of the state in times of conflict.
  • Everyone needs to believe in every women’s capacity and believe that God did not blame women for the first sin. Both man and woman were tempted and they both covered themselves. The responsibility is for both and the both are equal.
  • Tunisia needs full and actual equality. There is currently a discussion about the law of equality of inheritance. However, equality is not achieved drop by drop, either we accept it fully, or we remain unequal.
  • We need to be effective women who leave their fingerprints on history.


  • Some Arab countries are doing well at implementing the SDGs but some are facing big challenges, especially due to the political systems in their country.
  • Gender cross cuts the entire 2030 agenda and it is not just goal 5.
  • A Governmental committee on gender and the SDGs has been established for Arab states.

What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?

Inequality, and particularly, gender inequality is something that is present in many countries across the world. It is an issue that cuts across many of the SDGs. When gender inequality is tackled, even within an organisation such as The Salvation Army, SDGs are being worked towards. In the same way, when the SDGs are intentionally implemented then issues such as gender inequality are addressed.


Tags: SDG5: Gender Equality