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Tulane University

Publication Date

Spring 2011

Program Name

Jordan: Modernization and Social Change


The country of Jordan serves as one of the most progressive countries in the Middle East, yet Jordan has the lowest female economic participation rates out of all the countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Quantitatively, women’s higher education attainment equals and, in some cases, even surpasses that of men. However, their economic participation barely begins to compare to that of their male counterparts. The purpose of this study is to investigate the potential causes for this large gap, using qualitative evidence from the interviews of fifteen college women at the University of Jordan and regional and national statistics and indicators.

By analyzing women’s plans, or lack thereof, for the future, the study hopes to provide Jordanian college women with a chance to share their ideas on gender equality, ideal family dynamics, and pressures from society. By investigating the research question of, “What are the challenges college women believe they will face when trying to balance pursuing a career and fulfilling the demands of a family?” the findings led to a conclusion in support of the original hypothesis. Women who have yet to attempt to juggle professional goals with family demands underestimate the challenges they will face and thus also fail to address these concerns realistically.


Education | Family, Life Course, and Society | Gender and Sexuality | Inequality and Stratification | Women's Studies



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