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Jordanian female plumbers aim to get more women into work

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Maryam Mutlaq and 29 classmates are now qualified plumbers.

Only 14% of women in Jordan work, but Maryam and her classmates don’t see why.

Local preacher Akram al-Boureini says roles are clear in Islam: Men provide for the family and women stay at home and raise children.

Plumbing is “suitable only for men, not for women”, he said.

But the International Labour Organisation calculates that Jordan’s economy could grow by at least 5% (around two billion euros) if labour was more evenly spread between the genders.

At first, even her family were nervous about Maryam working, but she has proved them wrong. Maryam has even inspired her 12-year old daughter to want to follow her in to the world of work.

Samira Smirat, a consultant on the plumbers’ programme, said “It was hard for the families to buy in and we needed to do a lot of awareness sessions and to create a bridge of trust between us and the women”.

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