Some 260 women lawmakers from more than 60 countries have come together to find ways to close a global gender gap in politics more quickly.

The founder of the "Women in Parliaments" network, former European legislator Silvana Koch-Mehrin, told the conference Wednesday that the gap remains wide. She says 80 percent of parliamentarians and 95 percent of heads of state in the world are men.

Participants say encouraging more women to get into local politics, pushing legislation to stamp out discrimination and setting quotas in parliaments help accelerate change.

They say studies show equality between men and women produces significant economic growth.

The conference in Jordan marked the first meeting of the parliamentarians in the Middle East, which scores lower than other regions on most aspects of gender equality.