By Maria Weldali – Jan 02,2023

AMMAN — Viewing climate change through a feminist lens, Jordanian experts are bringing focus to the diverse ecofeminist dimensions of the issue.

“Ecofeminism can be applied in Jordan through reviving the environmental and cultural wealth of communities and living in harmony with nature,” Mayyada Abu Jaber, founder and CEO of JoWomenomics, told The Jordan Times.

Ecofeminism is an idea that involves a connection between the exploitation of nature and the subordination and oppression of women, Abu Jaber, an ecofeminist activist herself, said.

Due to living in a “patriarchal environment” with a dominant male perspective, it is necessary to study patriarchal domination, according to Abu Jaber.

“Women have a more intimate relationship with nature because of their gender roles as family care providers,” she said. 

Solutions to rural development are not limited to large investments that could exploit nature and socioeconomic systems. Rather, local solutions are key to securing a sustainable future, she added.

An example of such local social enterprises can be seen in Southern Shouneh with the “Beith Khairat Sweimeh” project, founded to share the experience of eco-tourism with tourists visiting the Dead Sea.

Following this ethos, local entrepreneur Sireen Al Sharif rented an old house in Sweimeh and converted the building into a space where local food is cooked with the participation of tourists, and local female entrepreneurs showcase and sell their products. Sharif employed 15 young women from the community, all of whom received training from JoWomenomics. 

For Baraa Awad, a young environmental activist, there is “a clear correlation and connectedness between effective climate action and women’s empowerment”. 

“Faced as we are with unprecedented climate changes, gender is key to solving those challenges,” she said, adding that involving all people equally yields greater understanding and outcome.

JoWomenomics, in partnership with Plan International, is supporting social entrepreneurs from Irbid and Amman through the Ibtikar project. The organisation is hoping to select beneficiaries that represent an ecofeminist approach in their enterprises, Abu Jaber said.

“Those who are most affected by climate change today — women, girls and marginalised communities — must be involved in the design and implementation of climate response actions to ensure the equal sharing of benefits,” according to UN Women.