Sisterhood is Global Institute/Jordan

Sisterhood is Global Institute/Jordan

جمعیة معھد تضامن النساء الأردني
Amman

SIGI/J promotes women’s rights and the full participation—politically, economically, and socially—of women and girls in public life in Jordan, through capacity building, civil society engagement, advocacy, and direct social, psychological, legal aid services.

Partner Focus Areas

Ending violence and discrimination against women
Women’s political participation and legal literacy
Engaging men and boys in community activism
Reform of discriminatory policies and legislation

Partnership Highlights

Partner since 2001
Annual youth tech festival for civic engagement
Gender sensitive elections monitoring
Empowering Syrian refugees and host communities
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SIGIJ Youth Technology and Activism Training 2011
Young women in Jordan learn to use technology and social media for activism at a SIGI/J training.

About SIGI-J

Founded in 1998, the Amman-based Sisterhood Is Global Institute/Jordan (SIGI/J) works to promote women’s advancement through a range of education and advocacy programs. SIGI/J has a specialized full time team of 20 employees. SIGI/J carries out its work in collaboration with local and regional scholars, human rights and women's rights activists, journalists, lawyers, jurists, and representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Since joining the WLP partnership in 2001, SIGI/J has promoted women's human rights education, youth education, women’s political participation, and the elimination of gender-based violence, among many other issues. Participants in SIGI/J’s programs include grassroots women, youth activists, women political candidates, legislators and government officials, and local community-based organizations. SIGI/J works primarily in Arabic and English.

Recent Accomplishments

  • SIGI/J was instrumental in the abolition of Article 308 of Jordan’s penal code, which allowed rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims. As part of its advocacy, SIGI/J launched the “Najat” Campaign and formed the Jordanian Civil Coalition for Abolishing Article 308, which comprised members of parliament, the senate, media, other local organizations, and community leaders. SIGI/J produced and disseminated a documentary film based on a true story about a victim of Article 308, and created posters, leaflets, research papers, opinion articles, and press releases to educate the public. It also collaborated with the media to raise awareness on violence against women using many popular audio, visual, and social media platforms. The Jordanian Parliament officially scrapped Article 308 in summer 2017.
  • SIGI/J has partnered with the Correction Rehabilitation Center (CRC) to support women detained under administrative procedures for family-related issues, many of whom are at risk of becoming victims of honor crimes. SIGI/J provides detainees with services through the “housing shelters for at-risk women” system, an important alternative to administrative detention for women and girls who have been victims of violence. As of 2017, SIGI/J has served over 121 women detainees, 52 of whom were successfully released from prison.
  • SIGI/J has introduced several amendments to Jordan’s Protection from Domestic Violence Law No. 6 (2008), which provides women with legal protections against domestic abusers. SIGI/J consults with experts in health, law, psychology, and religion, as well as victims, to shape their ongoing advocacy strategies to amend Jordan’s domestic violence legislation.
  • In 2017, as a result of an advocacy campaign by SIGI/J, the Jordanian Penal Code was amended to provide divorced women the right to approve medical procedures for their children.
  • SIGI/J’s nationwide activism in 2000 was a key factor in the 2001 passage of a law raising the minimum age of marriage in Jordan from 15 to 18.
  • SIGI/J's advocacy campaign with stakeholders, decision-makers, media, and other civil society organizations, had a significant impact on amendments to the Personal Status Law. For example, regarding inheritance rights, women often would waive their inheritance to other (usually male) family members immediately after the death of a relative. To reduce women’s vulnerability to exploitation at this time, SIGI/J advocated introducing a waiting period for the waiver of at least 3 months after the death of the relative, to provide women time to make the decision.
Speaker at SIGIJ Conference 2014
A woman speaks on women's rights and political engagement at a SIGI/J Conference.

Organizational Programs and Activities

SANAD—Support Women at Risk

  • SIGI/J’s “SANAD—Support Women at Risk” is a program to help vulnerable women, including Syrian refugees, women from refugee host communities, and women heads-of-household, to become capable and active in their local communities through capacity building programs and vocational training. SIGI/J has partnered with the Switzerland-based Surgir Foundation to empower Syrian refugee women with information about their legal rights in Jordan, and to make available various social supports, including legal, psychological, health, and social counseling services for the women and their families.

Annual Youth Tech Festival

  • Since 2008, SIGI/J’s Annual Youth Tech Festival has engaged more than 1,045 participants (53% female, 47% male) from across the country using information technology and social media in campaigns to advance the rights of women. The topics covered each year range from violence against women, to economic participation, political participation, women’s rights, and increasing youth participation in public life and municipal elections. Proposed topics for future festivals include addressing Jordan’s Personal Status Law and negative social views on divorce and inheritance, and encouraging women’s economic participation in Jordanian society.

“Eyes on Women” Program Registering Women to Run for Municipal Office

  • SIGI/J’s “Eyes on Women in elections” initiative began in summer 2016 during the parliamentary elections, and focused on election monitoring from a gender perspective, and examining how election laws and procedures affect women’s political participation in Jordan. In 2017, SIGI/J increased the number of women registered as candidates on the first day of registration to 18.4%, from 16% in 2013. SIGI/J collaborated with several NGOs to document election and polling violations, and to observe best practices that will improve women’s participation in political life. A final report, supported by USAID Takamol, was prepared that covers the lessons learned and provided a comprehensive assessment of the election process from a gendered perspective.
Jordan-NTOT-Share-Expertise-2017
Trainers and advocates share their experiences and expertise at a Training of Trainers workshop in Jordan hosted by WLP’s partner, SIGI/J.

Social Aid and Legal Services

  • SIGI/J has provided free legal representation in over 1,000 cases to women facing court trials who otherwise could not afford an attorney. Additionally, SIGI/J provides vocational courses for women and girls to empower them and equip them with income-generating skills. SIGI/J’s clients receive legal support, individual counseling visits, family visits for reconciliation and mediation, and follow up with governmental authorities with influence over their legal cases.

Campaign to Eliminate Early Marriage of Young Girls

  • SIGI/J is campaigning to eliminate early marriage among girls in Jordan. Although children are forbidden by law to marry before the age of 18, the custom of early marriage continues in some parts of the country, and is particularly prevalent among impoverished Syrian refugee families. In addition to educating girls, SIGI/J works to bring awareness about the health and psychological dangers of early marriage to parents, teachers, young men and boys, and local communities, including refugee communities. SIGI/J uses WLP’s training methodology, and the curriculum Victories Over Violence: Ensuring Safety for Women and Girls, in its education and outreach. SIGI/J uses social media, press releases, radio and television interviews, and training meetings to get the word out.

Weekly Cultural Events

  • In 1999, SIGI/J launched its Weekly Cultural Events program. Once a week, SIGI/J hosts seminars and events that focus on important women’s rights-related topics in Jordanian culture. The events have included screenings of short films about child marriage, a discussion about women in film, and discussions on laws and legislation, and education reform, among other topics.
SIGI/J National TOT Nov 2014
Women gather for a SIGI/J training on leadership and political participation in Amman, Jordan.
We must link local values [that are] respected by us, with universal values of human rights. Extremists don’t like us shaking up the situation when they will benefit from being superiors. The only way to confront extremists is to make sure justice is always pursued.

,Founder, WLP Jordan/Sisterhood is Global Institute/Jordan (SIGI/J)

About Jordan

  • Population: 9 million
  • Located in the Middle East, bordering Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and West Bank.
  • Since the 2011 onset of the civil war in Syria and resulting refugee crisis, one of Jordan’s most pressing socioeconomic challenges has been managing the influx of 650,000 UN-registered refugees, more than 80% of whom live in Jordan’s urban areas. Jordan’s own official census estimated the refugee number at 1.3 million as of early 2016.
  • Mixed legal system developed from codes instituted by the Ottoman Empire (based on French law), British common law, and Islamic law
  • Religions: Muslim 92% (official; predominantly Sunni), Christian 5%
  • Citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Jordan
  • Seats held by women in national parliament: 15.4%
  • Labor force 17.7% female, of which 27.5% are unemployed
  • Female literacy: 97.4%
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