Context Training in Jordan: Power Women

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Our participants talk about opportunities for female leaders in the humanitarian sector in Jordan.

Globally, in the humanitarian sector women are still under-represented and have limited access to positions of leadership. This gap of women in humanitarian organisations is also evident within the Talent Development Programme, in which men generally outnumbered women. In some of the cohorts in Bangladesh and Ethiopia for example, fewer than 10% of participants were female, despite efforts to achieve gender balance.

I think NGOs provide more space for women to fulfil higher positions... it is based on standards, and criteria such as qualifications... You get a chance to compete fairly.

Amal JadAllah

Shelter Officer, Norwegian Refugee Council

Amal JadAllah

60% female participants

It was therefore striking that in Jordan, the percentage of female participants exceeded 60% across several cohorts in the Context programme, which is part of the Talent Development initiative. Context is a national staff development programme focussed on mid-level managers as well as entry-level staff, and is implemented by RedR UK in Jordan, Lebanon, Kenya and Ethiopia.

The high percentage of female participants in Jordan is even more striking considering that Jordan continues to have one of the world’s lowest rates of female participation in the workforce at only 22%. This is despite having closed or reversed the gender gap in female education at all levels.

This article looks at the role of women in the humanitarian sector in Jordan, their role in leadership and the challenges that they face as women in their work. It is based on interviews held in Jordan in May 2017 with both female and male participants of the Context Management and Leadership course (cohort 4).

With thanks to Ola Telfah, Project Officer for Context in Jordan. 


Power Women: Female Leaders in the humanitarian sector

Find the full report here.

When I first started I had a position where I needed to lead a team of 11 engineers: three women and eight men. It was hard, it was not only the gender, it is also the age. It is difficult especially for the older men to accept to be managed by a younger woman.

Shadin Omar

Emergency Response and Shelter Manager, Medair

Our Partners


Context, led globally by Oxfam GB, is part of the Start Network's Talent Development project. The latter is one of fourteen projects in a portfolio funded by UK Aid (DFID).