Jordanian MP Wafa Bani Mustafa poses for a photo with her husband and two children, Jerash, Jordan, August 2017. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Nadia Bseiso
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As Wafa Bani Mustafa commands a circle of male parliamentarians in an informal chat before a Jordanian Parliament session, a male colleague looking on points to her saying "I call her the Iron Lady". In her third term as a member of Parliament, Bani Mustafa knows how to get her point across with her powerful, unmistakable voice and accompanying hand gestures that get more animated as she discusses women's rights.Bani Mustafa, 38, said being part of a group representing lawyers in Jerash governorate motivated her to join politics.Bani Mustafa has also fought for women facing divorce.Women are the minority in the room – there are 20 women in the 130-seat House of Representatives; 15 of the women's seats are reserved by a quota. Bani Mustafa tried to increase this quota last year to 23 seats, but was voted down.The politician is on a committee for sustainable development and believes in working with her female colleagues to understand the United Nations' latest set of global goals – and for her male colleagues to know more about goal five, she said.The fifth of the 17 goals is aimed at achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls by 2030, which she said will be easier to accomplish with everyone on the same team.
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