A Ministry for Women’s Development [Archives:2007/1039/Viewpoint]

April 5 2007

Dialogues are now undergoing for the formation of a new government. It is again a time for women who had always pleaded many times before to call upon the creation of a Ministry for Women's Development; one of the main recommendations outcomes of the Elimination of Violence against Women Conference which was held in 2004 and prior to that the recommendations outcomes of the Second National Conference for Women held in March 2003.

Many countries such as Malaysia, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, South Korea…etc have formed such ministries, and this has helped them respond better to the Millennium Development Goal of promoting gender equality and empowering women. The objective of this goal was to reach gender equality in primary education and secondary education preferably by 2005. However, the statistics for year 2005 showed a huge gap of a ratio of 66 girls to 100 boys in primary education and it gets worse in secondary education with a ratio of 45 girls to every 100 boys.

Leaders of the Woman National Committee (WNC) stated that the formation of a ministry for women development is not a luxury or a privilege, but it is more of a basic necessity caused by the enormous challenges facing women's development. This is clearly reflected in the national, regional and international human development reports which indicate that Yemeni women rank low in literacy, enrolment rates, and sustaining education, level of integration in the labour market; and especially in decision-making positions, despite of the efforts to improve the conditions for women.

What is frustrating is that there is still a question to the women role in contributing to sustainable development and the well-being of society. To those who still question the value of a women's development ministry please read “Engendering Development through Gender Equality in Rights, Resources, and Voice” a World Bank Policy Research Report and then you will know.