Gender Roles in Jordan

Video Transcript

(Note: This transcript has been edited for readability.)

"Gender roles in Jordan are very binary and, in many ways, very rigid in terms of the expectations about what men will do and what women will do. And also in that there’s very gendered spaces. So, for example, there’s a lot of street cafés where they’re smoking hookah, they’re playing checkers or Taawila [backgammon], and those spaces are very male-centric. It’s not that women are not allowed. It’s just that you won’t see women there. Until there’s a little bit of critical mass, you wouldn’t feel comfortable as a woman going there anyway. Physical labor is still considered very much in the male realm. There was a time where I was at the street market near my house. It was maybe a block away. It was hot, but I was trying to buy a watermelon. I picked out the watermelon, I paid for it, and I asked the guy for the bag. And he said, 'No, no, we’ll carry it for you.' The implication of that was: you’re a woman; we will help you do this thing; this is a heavy object. And this wasn’t a thirty-pound watermelon. It was about the size of a basketball. So I was very physically able to carry it."

In this video, an expert on Jordan discusses gender roles in the country.