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This story originally appeared on Improvisations: Arab Woman Progressive Voice.
“Al Quds al Arabi reports that 204 women are running in the Jordanian parliamentary elections. The language the paper chooses to deliver the news is … hysterical!
In fact, “women’s election hysteria” appears in the title of the article. If you are not scared away and choose to go beyond the headline, you encounter “hysteria” again along with words that translate as “surprising,” “exciting,” “unprecedented,” “unheard of,” “overwhelming,” and “strange” !!!!!!!!!!
The article mentions that some women candidates were the consensus choice of their communities (gasp!). Even scarier, some are confident they will win even without the new quota system (choke!!). The article explains: this means that some women are actually COMPETING for real! With men! Can you believe it??
By the time I finished reading this “news” item, I was feeling really sorry for Jordanian MEN who should stand up for their rights, disarm the women, and put them back where they belong.”
Editor’s note: This is sarcasm! Don’t get all uppity in the comments, please.
On a similar note, Jordanian women make up almost 50% of those registered to vote in this week’s Parliamentary elections. Mashallah! Flex those muscles, ladies!
However, one Jordanian lawmaker, Toujan Faisal, Jordan’s “first woman lawmaker” has been disqualified from participating in the elections because slander charges have been brought against her. This article in the Miami Herald talks about the barriers than she and other Jordanian women face in law. The problem with the article is mostly that it doesn’t focus on the positives, but also that the author makes that all-too-common comparison of “whichever country in the Middle East I’m reporting on” vs. Saudi Arabia. For example, “Still, women in Jordan enjoy relative freedoms, compared with their peers in Saudi Arabia, where they are banned from driving, voting or running in municipal elections. In Jordan, there are female judges, police, air force pilots and business executives.”
Tangential rant: Why is it that whenever anyone reports on a country in the Middle East and focuses on women, they always compare that country to Saudi Arabia?! Why is Saudi Arabia (or Iran) the gold standard for “how oppressed women are” in the Middle East? “Well, Jordan views it’s female lawmakers as a joke, but at least it’s not Saudi Arabia!” Come on.