Women entrepreneurs in Jordan: “If you’re confident enough, men start to see the message that you send.”

Jordan is a male dominated society, where it is much easier for men to succeed than it is for women. But more and more successful women are managinge to live their lives independent from a man and become role models. One of these women is Ethar Al Gouli, the Project Manager at CARE’s Women Economic Empowerment Program. Ethar grew up in Amman and helps women in the most vulnerable parts of the country. Many of them are women who are being forced to live in Jordan as a refugee with absolutely nothing, living in poverty and squalor.

Ethar is a typical working mom. She organizes breakfast, kisses her husband goodbye, drops her daughter at her mother’s house and heads off to work.

“I started working as soon as I graduated from university,” says Ethar. “Now that I’m a working mom, there are obviously some challenges I have to take on. But empowering women and being able to see the impact we have on others' lives, that is what makes it all worthwhile.”

Most women we met in the program want to send their children to school and have simple dreams like going on a pilgrimage to Mecca or buying a new refrigerator. Approximately 80 per cent of these women are able to make those simple dreams a reality, as this is the first time in their lives that they have money to spend on themselves. They are able to do the things that they want; whether it was to buy something small or even to start projects of their own.

Being able to contribute and have an impact on people’s lives – this is what makes Ethar most happy.

“I feel exactly like any other productive human being, female or male. This is a great feeling. Being part of the Women Empowerment Program, our biggest challenge now is men. The first time that they meet you, they see and identify you as a female. But as long as you believe in what you do and you’re confident, they are able to begin to see the message that you are trying to send.”

About the program

In Jordan, CARE supports 2000 vulnerable women, all affected by conflict, poverty and discrimination. The program in Jordan is part of a worldwide program in 11 countries in which CARE, with support of the H&M Foundation, supports 100,000 women to become self-sufficient entrepreneurs. Up till now 56,000 women in poor communities got access to tools, knowledge, skills training and/or seed capital to start up or to expand their businesses – and transform their futures.

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