Washington, DC – Maha Marashdeh, an active member of the Arab Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI), was recently awarded the Best Municipal Council Member in Jordan for her work in west Irbid. The recognition was presented by Beyond Quota, a program that promotes and builds public support for the role of women in governance in Jordan.
Throughout her public service and community activism, Marashdeh has consistently asserted herself as a leading figure in Jordanian civil society and politics. In politics, she strives to empower community actors and government institutions at the local level and after participating in a series of regional conferences, she is helping to establish standards for decentralization and municipal governance. Currently, Marashdeh is organizing workshops and seminars to advocate for the inclusion of a women’s quota in the draft of a provincial councils law, which has reached the House of Representatives’ Secretariat.
Marashdeh is also a leading voice throughout the region for the role of women in the public sector. In the past year, she has also represented Jordan in Rabat, Morocco at the Fourth Congress of United Cities and Local Governments, in Tunis, Tunisia at the Forum of Federations Regional Dialogue, and in the United Arab Emirates at the Women’s Conference on Local Governance.
Marashdeh’s career in public service began in the northern Jordanian city of Irbid – the second largest city in Jordan – where she made a name for herself as a staunch activist in the preservation of local culture and community welfare. Last year, Marashdeh made a significant impact in her community as secretary of the Som Charitable Association. Through the association, Marashdeh distributed 30,000 Jordanian dinar, roughly $42,319, worth of clothing and 7,500 Jordanian dinar, about $10,580, worth of food to low-income families.
As part of her efforts to encourage community engagement, Marashdeh serves as vice president of the Cultural Forum for the Love of Children and actively brings attention to youth issues. This year, she organized the annual Health and Wellness Marathon in order to encourage awareness of healthy lifestyles. Notably, this year’s marathon was the largest in the governorate’s history with over 2,000 participants.
Through her role in municipal government, Marashdeh has also been active in the conversation on national decentralization legislation in Jordan. She recently attended a conference held by the National Forum for Women Leaders in Jordan where she called for the greater involvement of women in the decentralization process. Marashdeh believes that decentralization will help to ensure that grassroots movements and municipal priorities have a stronger presence among Jordan’s governing institutions. The forum was held in collaboration with the Forum of Jordanian Parliamentarians and the Directorate of Local Development in the Ministry of Interior.