For centuries in the Middle East, women have walked in the shadows of men.

But today, they are stepping out of traditional roles and into new ones,  thanks to Jordan’s Princess Basma-Bint-Talal.

While her brother, the late King Hussein, led the march for peace, the Princess is leading the march for women’s equality through the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development.  Princess Basma says “I’d really like to see Jordanian woman participating fully in the development of Jordan at every level.” The Fund helps women develop their ideas into innovations, teaching them how to start small businesses.  It also offers them a chance to learn how to read and write... skills which transform their lives forever.

Samar, a fieldworker for the fund takes letters from urban to rural community centers so woman can exchange experiences. As different centers letters... words become windows.

Filmmaker and photojournalist Barbara Pyle meets young women like Mona and Tahini who are benefitting from Princess Basma’s vision by selling their own food, clothing and crafts in the local marketplace.  Previously, both women rarely got out of the house on their own because of cultural traditions.  Today, Mona and Tahini are earning incomes which gives them self-esteem. Hear their candid opinions on their changing roles and newlyfound independence.

Meet the country’s rural Bedouin women who are also experiencing a whole new way of life. Although they live in an ancient culture, the literacy skills they are gaining, allow them to step out into the modern world.

As a result of these personal transformations, many Jordanian women are becoming more assertive in their personal lives and choosing to have fewer children.  Barbara Pyle explores the question, “Is personal growth an answer to reducing population growth?"


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