AMMAN, Jordan — Marwa Alomari’s compassionate and patient style made her a popular English teacher, filling her classes in Irbid, Jordan, with eager students and her off hours with private tutoring.
A university graduate, she was paid up to $3,000 a month, far more than most fellow Jordanians.
But after she married an army officer and moved in with his family, he began to resent that she was paid more than he was. Even though she contributed to the household with both money and housework, he and his family discouraged her from working and the marriage nearly fell apart, she said.
“I became adamant that I wasn’t going to quit, but eventually I found no support and I just got tired and gave up,” said Ms. Alomari, 35. “I went back to cooking, cleaning, gossiping with women. And this wasn’t my ambition.”
Her story reflects what is happening across Jordan — a small Arab monarchy that has been a steadfast ally of Western countries — where women’s status in terms of labor force participation, health and politics has been regressing for years, even lagging behind more conservative countries in the region.
Global Gender Gap Report, which tracks gaps between women and men in employment, education, health and politics.
86 percent of women in the country are absent from the work force, according to government figures and the latest Global Gender Gap Report. That is the highest rate in the world for a country not at war, according to the World Bank.
In contrast, Western Europe has moved the most toward gender parity and is continuing in that direction, followed by North America.