Stepping Stone: Jordan's quota for women's parliament seats is raising the profile of female politicians
Jordanian female parliamentarians have come a long way in the ten years since the quota system was first introduced for the 2003 elections. Crucially, the quota system has succeeded in changing society’s attitudes, to the extent that women are now being directly elected to parliament without the help of a quota seat.
The idea of a quota system came about after no women were elected in the 1997 elections. The political leadership in Jordan acknowledged the importance of women participating in the House of Representatives, but all the early political experiments in the late 1980s and early 1990s demonstrated that women were unable to reach parliament through natural competition with men except for in isolated cases. Essentially, they were unable to get a finger-hold in Jordanian politics. The search then began for a suitable framework for women to be represented in parliament.