A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Let the math speak


This chart shows the percentages of women in parliament in Middle-eastern countries. The top 3 countries are Afghanistan (27.3%), followed by Iraq (25.5%) , and in third place comes Israel (15%). The first two are occupied by the US and the other one is Israel. Jordan is a blushing 5.5.

[Via The Sandmonkey]


The Sultan Amin Sultan Experiment


Jill Carrol


  1. hell with UAE and banning flicker,,, posts that has pix from flicker r torturing me…

  2. Anonymous

    I think the PLC has more % of women than any other Arab countries! but this chart shows Israel instead! what a pity!… Arabs are Arabs!… We are starting to accept Israel as a country in the middleeast, even without mentioning anything about Palestine!.. Hell to all who don’t see Palestine!.

  3. For all their empty talk of a French-style secular society with female empowerment, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt fare worse, or similar to a professed Islamic state like Iran!

    Afghanistan and Iraq are anomalies for obvious reasons.

  4. The jordanina women in the current Jordanian palrliament are not doing much…. maybe just like the men there.

  5. Anonymous

    Well said Anonymous.
    Female figures like Hanan Ashrawi and Leila Khaled make us proud.

  6. Wait a minute…so this is the “NEW MIDDLE EAST” Bush has been babbling about?

    So N.Africa is not included?

    When they will realize these people don’t have much in common, maybe all what they see, dark skinned fanatics people,lets call them Middle eastreners!
    Well, you could have a 99.99% parliment, but would it change a thing on the ground?

    Do I have to remind everyone here that Iraq isn’t spreading democracy in the ME, it’s exporting terrorists? Now who was responsible for that? I can’t remember.

  7. Anon, why is it that we cannot ever give a certain issue its right and always have to divert back to the Palestinian/Israeli case?
    We overlook other important issues that may have a great impact on the case in the long run- such as improvement of mentalities and the moderation of extremism. But no, we can’t do that can we? We have to blame others for everything.
    It is a sad cycle indeed.

    Firas, will you calm down and read properly before you get into the typical Arab let’s-blame-America-and-Israel piss fit?
    We have problems, regardless of who this map shows and who it doesn’t show, and who drew it and who didn’t draw it. Let’s acknowledge them.
    Furtherly, terrorism, which is a COMPLETELY different topic from what it discussed in the post, doesn’t have a nationality. We exported Abu Musaab to Iraq didn’t we?

  8. I would like to call this drawing: “The Wall of Shame” … although it is good to see that there is a percentage of women on board, but I still think that we can do better …

  9. The real question is what is more important, number of women in parliament willa what they do. Like Hareega said, what is the point of having women in hight and policy-making positions, when they are the ones voting against laws such as the nationalality and Ahwal Al Madaneh, which are so very important for all the women and men of Jordan. We really do need to rethink, what is more important quality or quantity. We need to train the women that are willing to run for these positions, to make sure that they will work for the women of their community.

  10. Roba, a blushing 5.5%? In Egypt it’s 2% and half of them were appointed by good ole Mubarak. And to add insult to injury, half of the appointed were christians, because only 1 christian was able to win in 444 races on parliament seats. That’s fede7etnah. Balad el sama7ah el deniah we 7oqooq el nessa2. Ha!

    But sure, anon, the really big problem is that this graph doesn’t show palestine and counts Israel as a (gasp)a middle-east country. Yeah, that’s it! sigh…

  11. And oh, yeah, North Africa was never a part of the Middle East.

  12. These are some effects of American democracy, are Afghanistan and Iraq occupied by American army or not?! this is the problem!

  13. soo..i still dont get who r we blamming???!!!…we’re jordanian women!!!..and i agree with the quality thing…we’ve got really messed up mentalities…if women would settle for something that’s not good enough…who should fight for more?…one more thing…its really sad to hear arabs fed up talkin about palestine and israel!!…i think no matter what happens…or how slow things may seem…its still wrong..unfair…and its our cause!…we should never give up talking about it…israel may be couting on that…ever noticed how people dying in palestine and iraq doesn’t move us anymore???!!…but..irrelevant to this post!

  14. Anonymous

    Hi, I am an American born muslim reader of your amazing blog and first time contributor, and I would like to pose this question in response to your statistics and map; Do any of your readers outside the USA think that the there are positive affects of the US “occupying”, (I say invading, bush had origingally said liberating) Iraq and Afghanistan, or do the negatives outweigh the postive benefits? Along the same lines, do you think the number of women in leaderships positions is primarily is a direct effect of the “American occupation” and if the US withdraws its troops immeditely never to return to oversee the developing governments, do your readers think these numbers of women in power will be sustained, or increased?
    Thank you all for your time and consideration.

  15. Western Brother

    The figures are sad, yet I’d like to make a couple of politically incorrect comments.

    First of all, election systems do vary. I think Afghanistan has a quota for women in the parliament but I don’t know whether Iraq has the same. When quotas are in use, the reprsentation figues are not natural. In earlier times, the Soviet Union has quite a high number of women in the parliament which drastically dropped after the dictatorship ended. The Soviet case was more for showing the rest of the world how “democratic” they apparently were, however, we all know that was propaganda.

    The percentage of women in a given parliament is not an indication of the status of women’s rights as such. Take for example the case of female presidents and prime ministers. Countries such as Pakistan, Turkey, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Philippines and Nicaragua are among those who have had those while for example Sweden, Netherlands and Denmark so far haven’t. The latter, however, are high in gender equality while the former are shames to the outside world.

  16. Anon, welcome to the blog. As for your question, personally, I’m very much against the occupation, for various reasons.

    Western Brother, quotas are enforced in Jordan as well. For more, read this post by my fellow Jordanian blogger Naseem Tarawneh . I dislike the quota system, it doesn’t allow a country to reach its full potential by equipping its best resources. It’s more of a way to maintain tribalist strength and such. It really transcends women’s right issues…

  17. Western Brother

    Roba and the rest, you all should check out this link which has the percentage of women in all the parliaments of the world (Roba, BTW, thanks for the link to your ‘colleague’):

    Interestingly, Rwanda is here no. 1. I don’t know the exact reasons why but I suspect the lack of men because of the genocide in the 1990s (men are more affected by those than women). Not surprisingly, Nordic countries follow but we should really treat the figures critically. I don’t know about the election system in Norway but those of Sweden and Finland differ significantly. In Sweden, you vote for a so-called party list and the party you vote for decides themselves who top the list. In the Swedish case the party can itself decide who lead the list and are surely elected and who are left in such a low ranking that they have no real chances of being elected. In a country like Sweden, the chances are that parties pick up politically correct (women, minorities etc.) candidates in order to attract more voters among those surely getting elected.

    In Finland, however, you vote for a candidate him/herself. In quite a complicated system, the party gets all the votes of its candidates but which candidates of the party get in and in which order is decided by the voters, not the party. So it wouldn’t be too far-fetched and use of creative statistics to claim that whatever the numbers show, the percentage of women in the Finnish parliament is actually higher than in the Swedish one :-).

    Yes, I’m a Finn and we Finns simply love opportunities to mock the Swedes LOL.

    And yes, quotas are bad.


  18. Im just amazed that this graph took more attention from readers than the incredible article Roba wrote about a close subject “Feminism unleashed” is it just because a photo is easier to comment on? and yet almost half of the comments regarding this clear subject of women rights, was about the middle east crisis and the future American conspiracy in the middle east, people please wake up this is not Camp David plan map.

    ok just wanna add and based on the site “ ” from Western brother. It’s fascinating to know that countries as Iraq and Afghanistan have more women representation in parliament than a country like Switzerland, are women in these countries enjoy their rights and freedom more than women in Switzerland? Sure not, so this is not really a clear measure for women rights, simply because women just may not have the same amount of interest in politics crap as much as men do, and they totally have the right not to be interested, while all the things mentioned in your “feminism unleashed” are all basic rights such as equal inheritance, legal discrimination, individuality, not to be treated as a submissive who main rule in life is to follow and obey. and yes “Ms. much more conservative Feminist” sorry to tell you we have the right to question religion when its against human rights. I know its hard for you to take it, you can deny it but still its just the truth.

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