Wasta Sex

I’ve been wondering lately which sex in Jordan uses wasta (nepotism) more. Females or males? And I’m talking about the instigators and not just the pawns. See, most would be quick to say males but if you think outside your immediate environment for a moment, I’ve observed a lot of elderly women living in towns and villages all over Jordan, using wasta constantly. They’ll even travel all the way to west Amman to wait outside the home and/or office of their family Member of Parliament.

Generally speaking they will also encourage their husbands or sons to seek out wasta, but still maintaining the position of being the instigator. Women, especially the elder ones, will also rely heavily on sympathy for their wasta to go through. They might not even know the person who’s destined to help them out, but they nevertheless find a way to get them on board with cheating, bypassing, circumventing, obfuscating the system.

I sometimes see this at work in all sorts of ministries or government departments and circles. But then you have the men.

There are other questions of course which arise based on this inquiry. Such as: will women who use wasta tend to use it for things that are more justifiable than men? I think the main categories tend to be bypassing government bureaucracy, employing a family member, educating a family member and/or seeking medical treatment.

Also, which sex is the main beneficiary of wasta these days?

Anyways, this was just something that’s been floating in my mind lately and I thought it would be an interesting discussion question to pose and debate.

If nothing else, have your say by voting in the poll to your right.


  • Women do tend to use was6a on regular basis..women can always think of someone who they can contact for help in any sort of situation, and have better chances of their was6a actually working..we have the (takhjeel)factor going on!
    Plus, as much as I hate to admit it, a woman can put in a bit of flirting, and voila: extra strong was6a!!

  • Hi,
    You reminded me of 10 years back while i was in uni, sometimes we asked our female friends, to ask the professor to change the date of a test, if one of us males students went the professor refused, so we knew the game 🙂
    but if you want to analyze it, its really sick, I think our community encourage that behavior, and females know that they can use nepotism in its all ways, because they know we die to help a female, even if she is the ugliest 🙂

  • “females know that they can use nepotism in its all ways, because they know we die to help a female, even if she is the ugliest”
    That’s funny,
    Not all girls are like that 

  • I don’t know, but mabrook for using the word “obfuscate.”

    Next post, try to use “cirucmlocution.” It’s another word I grew to love while living in sharq al awsat.

  • PLLLLEEEEEEEZEEEE!! I HAVE NEVER HEARD ANYONE describe the begging of a helpless elderly woman as a form of wasta. come on dude. have a heart. this goes against the definition of wasta.

    Jordanian Heritage Dictionary 2007

    Wa’se’tah: noun. The act of exchanging favors through a direct or indirect quid pro quo system. In most developing and underdeveloped countries, Wasetah becomes the primary mechanism for resource allocation in public institutions, replacing fair competition and meritocracy. Wasetah is often blamed for the destruction of public institutions since incompetent persons often rise through the ranks via a system of favor exchanges between groups with similar political or tribal persuasions. Often time, practitioners of Wasetah cover their tracks by not exchanging favors directly with a a beneficiary but will use their influence with a third party to achieve the same objective. in Jordan, Wasetah is the primary system of job placement and career growth in the public sector. While no public official or political leader will openly endorse Wasetah, almost all practice it, even as they condemn it. The system is encouraged at they highest levels of government.

  • Maani: lol no i think you’ve got the wrong visual in your head. i’m not talking about anyone begging. ya3ni many of the women im describing are also relatives of mine from kerak 😀

  • The three major job interviews I had in my life and I was really working hard to get doing all my best in exams, essays and interviews al went to women. One was the daughter of a minister, the other daughter of a deputee and the third was a relative of the project director!

  • I think wasta is different than what you’re describing, wasta is someone in a position of power and ask them to influence something for my benefit that i otherwise would have to compete for and gain by merit, or wait for the standard procedure on something.

    A female getting a seat on a bus, better treatment from a male professor, preferance in hiring for eye candy positions, getting a taxi, help changing a tire…is nakhwanjeyeh ..from the words nakhweh and neswanjy…el zalameh elli ma bentakhi ghair lal niswaan

    Your was6a is someone who knows you, or of you, or you are “ma7sobeen 3ala ba3ad” but a nakhwanji is a man who will do favors for women, because of their sex he doesn’t have to know them at all. A nakwanjee mentality comes from a combination od things; the cultural view that a woman is a weak delicate creature that needs the help of all men at all times, men confused about what a gentleman is, and desperate men who will do anything to get the attention and approval of a girl.

    A was6a could be a nekhwanji who only benefits women.

  • BTW…the title Wasta Sex is very suggestive of having sex with someone so he can be your was6a. WHich is more common in the west.
    In jordan it won’t work, a woman has sex with a man to get a job, he is not obligated to fullfil his side of the deal because he can just blackmail her out of it 😀

  • I am one of the people apposing wasta…but after living in Jordan for a while (4 months) I became addicted to it. I actually feel that a woman in Jordan needs wasta on her side, mainly because we live in a male-oriented society . It is difficult for a girl for example to go to da2eret el tar5ees all the way in Marka and stand up with mechanics for her car’s annual test without a wasta. WHY, because then I will only need to show up, and 3amo wasta will have me in his office for a cup of coffe while my car and papers are being processed!
    I can think of many examples where I felt that I needed an insider help (wasta) or any male family member to help me in getting things done at governmental offices…
    ps: i am not a dependent person at all. i only feel the above when i am in the ME

  • btw ..the subject of the post imply a whole different thing…i thought you were going to talk about people using sex as a mean to thier ends 😛
    Please tell me that this does not happen much in amman

  • Hi,

    i have read through your blog to find more about jordan and living in Jordan. Am a lebanese who is living in dubai, lived in Kuwait also, and now most probably will be moving to Jordan. My husband got a an offer there and we are both thinking of the opportunities , the lifestyle and trend of life we can have in Jordan. the idea for me personnally is great as i will be closer to my home country and would be easier to go to lebanon everynow and then, an chance for me to take some rest from work also, in short i think i will feel more at home specially that am the type who is quite attached to my home land and culture.

    I tried to figure out from all comments posted about living in jordan , and it seems not attractive for me to move their after what i read but i assume that anyone wouldnt see the good things in his own country until he is away from it. You have not discouraged me yet ;).
    Sadly i dont know any jordanian person and i have few questions regarding your country i wished if you could be kind enough to give me a glimps of what is life like really in Amman, where is the best place to live and raise a family, and how much it really costs for a foreigners to live a decent cceptable lifestyle, i mean expense wise.

    Thanks for your help,

  • Nathalie: every country has its ups and downs, its good and bad. Jordan is no exception.

    i’m no guru nor guide, but if you want answers to questions feel free to email me. contact info is under the black iris logo up above.

  • Nathalie: “i assume that anyone wouldnt see the good things in his own country until he is away from it. ”
    I have been away from Jordan for 4 years now and only go back on holiday… although I do miss my family, I do not miss the country nor the menality nor the people.. Even my friends who stayed there for university have changed completely and I have no common ground with them anymore.. I don’t mean to discourage you but my brother lived in Lebanon and judging from my visits there,, it has NOTHING to do with Jordan..
    This is not to say that things aren’t getting better cuz they are and many things changes since i lived there last… positive change ofcourse..
    Anyway, I think that the best way to judge is to try to live there.. many of my friends are very happy to live in Jordan and can not think of being away from it.. so Voila thats the other side of the coin..

  • “I don’t mean to discourage you but my brother lived in Lebanon and judging from my visits there,, it has NOTHING to do with Jordan..”

    Aha!And your brother lived in all lebanon so he knows it all right?
    Thats what can be called the Expert Syndrome.

    Some people amaze me how they forget their roots and suddenly all the people they knew are eww and not so civilized!

    Peace out Experts!

  • i want you guys and girks help me out fighting stigma againts kids living with hiv/aids in jordan can you guys contact me on my email !

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