July 26, 2017 Special Dispatch No. 7026

Jordanian Lawyer: It's High Time A Woman Was Appointed Prime Minister

July 26, 2017
Jordan | Special Dispatch No. 7026

Jordanian lawyer Mohammad Al-Subaihi published an article on the Ammonnews website on June 28, 2017 proposing that the idea of appointing a woman to the position of prime minister in Jordan and in the Arab world in general be promoted. Arab society, he wrote, rejects this proposition on chauvinistic grounds, and out of fear that a woman will succeed where numerous men have failed.

Muhammad Al-Subaihi (Source:, November 23, 2015)

The following are excerpts from his article:

"The men fight among themselves over the position of prime minister of Jordan without bringing anything new or any positive results – to the point where each is an exact duplicate [of a previous prime minister] and the Jordanian citizen has stopped paying attention to who comes and who goes. Every new prime minister appoints a few female ministers, as part of the latest government facelift, to show that the Jordanian woman is present at all senior levels. However, not one prime minister dares to choose an iron woman like Tujan Faisal[1] for the position of interior minister, or another outstanding woman for the position of Foreign Minister... In almost every case, prime ministers choose female ministers who lack management experience or capability, and are not [conversant with] Jordanian society...

"Mrs. Rima Khalaf held the third [most important] position [at the UN] after the position of Secretary General of the UN,[2] and for many years demonstrated unparalleled talent [and won] the trust and respect of the international arena. She is exceedingly well acquainted with Jordan's economy and society, and possesses unique leadership qualities. So why shouldn't she be the first Jordanian and Arab woman to serve as prime minister?

"Margaret Thatcher led Britain through a difficult and complicated time; German [Chancellor] Angela Merkel is considered Europe's strongest leader today. Before them, Indira Gandhi ruled India, and dare I mention Golda Meir in Israel, and what she did during a sensitive period of the growth of the Zionist entity.

"Our society thinks that allowing a woman to drive a car is going too far, while the men lead the Arab societies to ongoing wrack and ruin [and still] behave like heroes only where women are concerned. We don't want a woman prime minister just because she's a woman, but for fear that she will succeed where all the 'expert' prime ministers have failed, for any success attained by a female prime minister in any area will remind the people of the failure of the previous prime minister, or the one before that, in the same sector.

"I do not write these lines to promote the distinguished woman Rima Khalaf, but to promote the idea [of a woman prime minister] itself, and to demand that the political elite exhibit courage with respect to this request and agree that a woman lead the government. If she succeeds, we all benefit; if she fails, her failure will be no greater than the abundance of previous failures of the men [who preceded her]..."[3]


[1] Tujan Faisal is a Jordanian politician of Circassian origin; in 1993 she was the first woman elected to the Jordanian Parliament.

[2] Rima Khalaf is a Jordanian politician and diplomat who held a succession of positions in Jordan and at the UN, among them minister and deputy prime minister and assistant to the UN Secretary General. In March 2017, she resigned from her position as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), claiming that she was pressured to shelve a report that accused Israel of a policy of racial discrimination.

[3], June 28, 2017.

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