Against Odds, Jordanian Women Develop Small, Home-Based businesses

By Suzanna Goussous Jordan Times, Amman

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) This article takes a look at several Jordanian women who are flexing new muscles as entrepreneurs. As one woman points out, "We can all do it. If we managed to raise children, take care of them and hold our families together, we can do anything."

AMMAN

Despite the numerous obstacles faced by Jordanian women, many are using their skills and experiences to successfully develop small and home-based businesses.

In celebration of International Women's Day and Mother's Day, around 55 women with small and home-based businesses came together in a bazaar at Amman Marriott Hotel on Friday to showcase their products and promote their businesses.

Participants from projects involved with the Jordan River Foundation, USAID, UNESCO, Microfund for Women, Ruwwad Al Tanmeya and other individual projects took part in the bazaar to celebrate working women.

Um Ali, a mother of four, has been baking bread and delivering orders for around 20 years in Amman and surrounding governorates.

"I managed to find a balance between my family and the orders I receive. I finish working and go home, and when I work I am satisfied and happy," she told The Jordan Times.

Suheir Smadi, who owns a small business making cookies and deserts, has been working from home for five years.

"My children are very cooperative when it comes to my work. When they go to school, I organize my time in order to bake. When you have five to six hours to accomplish your goal, you will definitely succeed," Smadi said.

She added: "Women shouldn't depend on their husbands for everything. There should be mutual cooperation and understanding, as life necessities are getting more expensive."

"It's very important to encourage and invite women to start their own businesses, if they have the time for it, to boost the economy in Jordan," she said.

The owner of a kitchen in Amman, Mufeeda Sayyed, said she started her business three years ago, providing healthy and homely meals for households in Amman and Irbid.

One of the challenges she faced initially was society's perception of working women in rural areas, Sayyed said, adding that she managed to overcome it and is now taking delivery orders from different areas around Jordan.

Ruba Jaradeh, a mother of four, started a project with her friend, who is also a mother, with the idea of entering the business field without distancing themselves from their families.

"We can all do it. If we managed to raise children, take care of them and hold our families together, we can do anything," Jaradeh added.

For her part, Khadra Hussein, who owns an embroidery business in Amman, said family support of working women is one of the vital elements to achieve success in any field.

Joanne Bisharat, a student at the Princess Sumaya University for Technology and a member of the DART student entrepreneur club, said the bazaar aimed to support and empower Jordanian women with home-based businesses.

Proceeds from the bazaar will be sent to the King Hussein Cancer Centre and Foundation, according to organizers.

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