Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | 1,044 day ago

This Video Shows Jordan’s Parliament Is (Even) Worse Than PMQs

The Debrief: Just a little bit, though…

A video of one Jordanian MP’s courage to simply stand up and talk in their house of representatives has gone viral.

Hind al-Fayez caused a stir when she stood up to say something about Jordan’s problem with buying oil from Israel. She told CNN, ‘We were talking about an important and severe issue that Jordan is going though about importing Israeli gas.’

So far, so boring. Well, actually, really fascinating, but unfortunately not the stuff of viral videos’ concern. What happened next was viral-video-level interesting, though, because Yahya Al-Saud, the MP who sits next to her, took this as an opportunity to tell her to sit down.

Because? ‘God curse the person who brought the quota to Parliament!’ something he repeated, in case no-one knew just how much he doesn’t want women given a helping hand getting in politics (FYI, the quota is only 10%, accounting for 15 women out of a whopping 150 MPs overall).

Instead of sitting down, Hind stood up and made her point. The recording of the exchange, which really wasn’t that far from the jeering and mooing we get from our own House of Commons (including when David Cameron told a woman to ‘Calm down, dear’), then went viral, with many people making up their own near-funny memes about the issue.

Hind said of the incident, ‘I was really surprised by having my fellow MP changing the subject into the female quota. Which is also a very important issue for Jordanians. You can see the way I was staring at him. “What are you talking about, we are now MPs! At the end of the day I’m a parliamentarian here. You judge me by my performance, my achievements, not by being female or male.”’

Hopefully, all the silly memes – eg people subtitling Hitler’s speech from Downfall with Saud’s words, or the pictures of Jordanian MPs along with the speech bubbles ‘sit down Hind’ will draw closer attention to the facts. One being that although quotas can work, some people might not take the people who move up through them seriously. The second being that gender inequality can be tackled policy-first, and in a country like Jordan, which is 134 out of 142 countries when it comes to gender equality, there may be little to no other way of getting any semblance of gender equality at a political level.

All we’re saying is, let this be more than a meme.

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Tags: Pure Politics, Jordan