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TUESDAY, MARCH 8, 2011, 02:12 PM

A Century of Giving Back

Her face has been kissed by Time. Every crease and line around her eyes records a moment in her life, like the delicate rings in a tree trunk. Etched into her beautiful brown skin, more than one of these proud wrinkles symbolizes the many hardships she has endured over the years. Alone, her seven grown children (one for each day of the week) visit to keep her company and seek her counsel. With what little she has, she still gives what she can: wisdom, compassion, and a modest meal. She is Um Fawaz, from a small village in northern Jordan.
 
Up in the mountains, several towns over and a generation apart, lives Shifa’a. She sold her only piece of jewellery, her wedding ring, so her husband could go to university and become a teacher, so in turn he could provide their children with a better life. But she didn’t stop there. Shifa’a tapped into her entrepreneurial spirit, applied for a loan, and opened the first mini-market in her town. “I don’t regret the hard work or selling my gold ring,” she says, glancing at her hand. “What matters is today our family stands stronger”.
 
For me, both these women represent the best of International Women’s Day (IWD). Over the course of a century, IWD has inspired women to break barriers and redefine roles. But the eighth day of March has always been about more than giving women equal rights. It has also been a story of women giving back.
 
Across Jordan, and the world, women are giving: to their families, communities, and countries.  A woman caring for her children; a woman striving to excel in the private sector; a woman partnering with her neighbours to make their street safer; a woman running for office to improve her country – they all have something to offer, and the more our societies empower women, the more we receive in return. 
 
The late King Hussein of Jordan, my husband’s father, a traditional man himself, recognized the power and promise of his countrywomen. He encouraged them to take on typically male jobs, whether it was running a business or racing a car. We saw many courageous breakthroughs, like in aviation, where Royal Jordanian became the first airline in the Middle East to employ a female pilot. His Majesty King Abdullah II continues this drive towards diversity because he knows that Jordan’s greatest resource is its people – all its people.
 
I am proud of Jordan’s women. They are our entrepreneurs and CEOS, our district attorneys and judges, our parliamentarians, ministers, and ambassadors. From the boardroom to the courtroom, the operating theatre to the lecture theatre, Jordan’s women are chalking up accomplishments great and small.
 
Jordan and my region, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has made remarkable progress in reducing gender gaps in human development.  Several countries in the region have achieved gender parity in primary and secondary education, and others are making good progress.  Fertility rates have decreased in the past decade. 
 
In Jordan, and most Arab countries, we have more girls in universities than boys. Maternal mortality in my country is around half the global average. Nearly a third of our most profitable entrepreneurs are women in small and large businesses.  And in Jordan’s elections last year, 17% of candidates were women.
 
But I am also a realist, and I know that while many women like Shifa’a give back, many, many more are held back by institutional, economic, cultural, and legislative hurdles.
 
So, as the chorus for reform rings out in Jordan, and elsewhere in the Arab world, let’s seize this opportunity for women, tune into their voices, and heed their calls.
 
 And let’s remember...we are where we are today because of women. We are what we are because of them, too. And we can only realize our potential when we realize theirs.

Posted on The Huffington Post
 

Comments (20)
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webmaster
Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sounds interesting Bill, keep us updated :)

Ibrahim10
Sunday, April 24, 2011

Your Highness Queen Rania..
I am post graduated with Bsc in archaeology major since 2006 , i worked with the department of antiquities' seasonal projects as a (worker by the day),I'm unemployed though i tried a several times to be in contract worker with the (DOA) but it was worthless ,it is really an extreme passion of mine to be involved to any relating field to the (Mother nature and wild life)field, as i applied to the (Royal society for conservation nature) a several times but it was also worthless.. i'm really a fan of your endless open-minded thoughts about improving people' lives whenever ,wherever in the humanity filed and its a honor of us that you have a worldwide reputation in this field.
Your highness,
I've heard and read a lot about your humanity activities
I think i will still stand at the same place where i am now and later without any help,so i'm calling out to your humanity soul to offer me any possible help from you as i need it too much
i'm all hope to getting the response from your generous kind soon on my email as i provide below.
thank you in advance .
ibrahimkhalaf300@yahoo.com
Ibrahim.

Ramkshrestha
Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dear Queen Rania,

You are very inspiring and leading world female social activist: http://ramkshrestha.wordpress.com/2010/12/25/youngest-queen-rania-worlds...

Ram Kumar Shrestha

duncaninkuantan
Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hello Queen Rania,

I must say that your work is important and inspiring, and is rather reminiscent of the late Princess Diana.

Keep up the wonderful work!

Duncan In Kuantan

the student from pakistan
Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Your Highness Queen Rania..
I really like your work and i am impressed but i need to ask you something. I did ma 10th Grade but after that My Father was not able to pay my fee. He is a teacher. But still i joined some free classes and i am a software engineer and a researcher now. Well I want to study as well. here in Pakistan we do not have that much funding for education. I designed a web portal which can earn equal to face book or any other famous portal. I just want to ask you that R you just Working for your people or any Muslim can get your help. I am also very good into real estate advisory,I want to work for poor people, i have the plans and solid idea's to teach young generation. please answer my question. If you can help please contact me. We don't have any other way to contact you. I am working for Muslims even FBI blocked my mails and lessons on youtube and my research about Jordan,Qatar,Saudi Arabia. Please help to launch this portal I promise I will never let you down. Please HELP.

mais al reem
Friday, March 25, 2011

Dear Queen Rania,

as we all proud of you! and proud that our Queen is very unique because YOU did a great part of trying to change the Idea about Muslims spicily girls, am now in Germany : so happy to tell you that people here know a lot about you and about what you did for us .

thank you for being what you are !

with all my respect,
Mais Al-Reem

Yesenia
Thursday, March 24, 2011

un saludo cordial
mi ingles es escaso así que le escribo en castellano. Hace algún tiempo vi por tv el maravilloso trabajo que realiza por alcanzar la igualdad de genero y la lucha por tratar de mejor la calidad de vida entre los mas pequeños en su natal país, su trabajo a sido oportuno e inspirador para un mundo acostumbrado a ver a gran parte de la realeza ignorando las realidades de una sociedad que agoniza y por supuesto a las mujeres relegadas a un segundo plano, pues el machismo afecta también a los países de América latina, en mi país por ejemplo día a día se presentan casos como el despido de mujeres por encontrarse en estado de gestación o por tener hijos, el impune acoso sexual de jefes a empleadas, profesores a alumnas, etc. quienes por lo general callan por temor a represarías y casos mucho mas serios un promedio de 10 mujeres mueren al mes por violencia intrafamiliar. En fin, Hay muchas personas con la oportunidad y los recursos para cambiar el mundo, pero muy pocas que se deciden a intentarlo.
muchas felicidades y el mejor de los deseos para usted, su familia y su causa.

DW Duke
Friday, March 18, 2011

Woman in Ayatollah Boroujerdi's view:
From his writings and interviews

Woman is the beautiful creature of God .women are talented and powerful to do every thing. In occupational and trade divisions woman's veneration and holiness must be observed and the delicacy and elegance of woman who is responsible for civilization and generation must not be forgotten. Trading her chastity must be avoided and we must never use her as a means for marketing and must never ignore her God-given positions, though woman's position has been abused during last ages and indecent traders have abused this sacred gender in different cases.

Please explain the rights and limits of women ?
Woman is the partner of man in administration of the life affairs .women have the same position in creation that men have achieved and each law violates their personality and credit integrity is worthless .All judgments which lead to humiliating and regressing women are as the Human Rights violators. Every kind of limits and restrictions which cause reduction in their success and enjoyment of life are unrespectable and unenforceable. Scientific and social fields must not cause limitation and strait for them

What's your opinion on equality of the rights of man and woman ?
About that part which is relevant to Islamic laws it must be said that Islamic laws are based on jurisprudence, it means, they can be changed according to the different situation of time and place, but if religion and the state be separated , these problems will be solved through a great vision .

Please tell us what is women's place in your viewpoint ?
If you observe our monthly meeting, you will understand that the majority of those present are women and my disciples are mostly ladies. In my thought and research procedure women have the main responsibility and a special place in creation and honoring this great part of the creation is reverence for god. I expect women to join us and help to wipe terrorism and unjust groups.

What's your opinion on the repression of the different groups of people ?
I believe we can’t call a government which represses people, republic especially if it represses by the Islamic pretexts, it can be called Islamic. I protest against the use of the world "Islamic republic". I have expressed my protests against repression of my countrymen in the letters to the religious characters of the world too.

March 07, 2011
The brutal attack against Mr. Boroujerdi with infected razorblades has resulted in severe physical injuries
According to reports received recently from the infamous Evin prison on the 27th of February 2011, a group of prison officers have stormed the detention centre of Mr. Boroujerdi in order to inflict abuse upon him. Mr. Boroujerdi was attacked and severely beaten and after the repeated beatings and insults to the imprisoned dissident, his arms and legs were tied and his body was cut with infected razorblades. Moreover the officers violently shaved his beard with the same infected razors and caused deep wounds and cuts to his face.

Aninha Carbone
Friday, March 11, 2011

Dear Rania, I'm a dentist from Brazil and here we were getting used to be dependent on men.Nowadays, things are different, for the first time , we have a female president.Women earn as much money as men does at their jobs.
I also do volunteer job to my people: I make free odontological treatment for poor children, teach them how to brush their teeth and teach their parents how to help them to become healthier.
My mom does handmade layettes to underfunded pregnant women.
I didn't know you, but today, at my dentistry office, I saw you on a brazilian TV channel, about what you do to your people and I became your fan!!! Congratulations and you can count on me!!!
Women really make THE DIFFERENCE around the world!!!

JasmineChavez
Thursday, March 10, 2011

In spanish, your name would be Reina Rania. I am so proud to connect with so much that is in your heart through your writing. I am a 21-year old college student living in Arkansas, USA. I am from the beautiful country of Honduras, Central America. I have always had a passion to serve my people and work hard at creating a network of educational partnerships. At John Brown University, where attend, we develop many projects to serve communities at home as well as internationally. SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) is an organization within the university that facilitates opportunities to serve. One of the projects that SIFE shelters is Mama Carmen, a woman who has cared for the orphans in Guatemala for years. We partner with her as well as other organizations to provide as much support for the education of the children she cares. While I was reading your story, it felt as if I was ready Mama Carmen's. You are an outstanding woman of courage, compassion and testimony. It is my dream that maybe someday you can hear our stories.