ALL OVER YEMEN: Celebrating Women’s Day in Different Ways [Archives:1999/11/Governance]

March 15 1999

In Sanaa:
Women in every society have an important role to play. The question is what are the fields through which the Yemeni woman can be trained in order to become an active member in her society?
Unfortunately vocational training for the woman in Yemen is like a neglected child which has not been trained or educated. In fact the whole process of vocational training in Yemen occupies only an insignificant place in the entire structure of education at a time of urgent needs for such education. Vocational training is a vitally important source for supplying the labor market with skilled force. Technical and vocational training must be built on a firm foundation which embraces both men and women.
What is the extent of the progress made in the vocational training in Yemen and what are the social responses to the female involvement in this kind of education?
The following report by Ahlam Al-Mutawakkil attempts to answer this question.
The employment of the Yemeni Women has become a solid fact . More specifically, employment for the woman living in the urban areas means a lot to her. It means independent income, job satisfaction and social position. All this bears significant effects on the woman socially as well psychologically. A recent psychological study on representative samples of women indicates that woman’s employment has enabled her to break through psychological barrier which had prevented her in the past taking part actively in all fields of life.
Males, especially in rural areas, are luckier than females in getting paid employment, while females in urban areas are more fortunate than their counterparts in the countryside in finding paid job opportunities. The main occupations of Yemeni women are concentrated on the field of public service, i.e. government and administrative jobs. This is due to the benefits given to women related to her female gender as a wife and a mother. This is also due to the lack of an adequate vocational training that would enable them to enroll in other relevant occupations either in the public or in private sectors. However, the teaching profession records the highest female concentration not only as teachers but also as clerks, school headmistresses, and educational and social inspectors.
Progress in society is strongly dependent on how far the women in the society are advanced. The battle of development requires comprehensive rallying of human energies. Therefore, it is a responsibility of the community to provide integrated care and attention to women and to facilitate their educational and vocational training.
It is also important to adopt the policies necessary to encourage the female enrollment in the labor market and to create a better atmosphere in job opportunities, wages, and management.
To create the best environment for woman’s active involvement in social as well as economic development is the most important thing included in the national strategy for population. This naturally should begin with the basic education and illiteracy eradication with specific emphasis on the following:
– Efforts should be multiplied to focus on the females uninterrupted education by minimizing the instances of sneaking out from school.
– To open the door for women to enroll in technical and vocational training centers with the proper continual improvement in the programs of this training so that the outputs of vocational education can meet development and labor market needs.
– To enrich woman’s experience with the updated interests and expertise in order to strengthen her abilities in the following:
Business administration, projects management and in any other fields of highly developed skills.
– To encourage civil society institutions ( NGOs and the Private
– Sector ) to cooperate with the government in creating female training centers to enable her acquire skills and knowledge commonly demanded in the labor market.
– To reactivate the existing female training centers. This can best can be done in two ways:
a) providing these centers with the necessary machines and equipment, and
b) enlarging the extent of female training so as to allow for more practical training instead of the existing traditional training which focuses on out of date programs.
– To assign qualified staff in women’s training centers which are employing recent and inexperienced female graduates. Care should also be exerted to improve performance of the existing staff to guarantee better training.
– To allow women to take part in designing development plans and programs, especially those related to women. The woman naturally knows what is best for her and she is better aware of her own problems.
– To achieve delicate balances in employment between men and women or at least to establish justice in employment. Sometimes women are not employed based on trivial and unconvincing pretexts.
Woman Vocational Training: Facts and Figures.
Except for nursing, almost all forms of vocational and technical training are male-domains. The female in Yemen can not have complete acess to modern technology as the male can. Even learning how to drive a car is not that easy for Yemeni women to get. I am speaking from personal experience as I one day needed training in car driving but I did not know where to go. This is just an example to be considered by female training associations in order to incorporate in their trianing courses practical programs instead of wasting time on the manual skills which have almost become instinct.
A 1998 report on the status of woman in Yemen shows that female enrollment in technical and vocational training in the year 1990 was 13.4% female against 86.6% male. This rate rose to 33.9% female in 1996 although it concentrated in business and nursing fields.
There are many female training centers and institutes in urban as well as in rural areas. These centers/institutes provide short term training (few months or weeks). However a great number of trainees in these centers are poorly educated, and can only read and write.
The thing that should be reasserted and attended to is finding the best way to encourage women to be integrated in the vocational and technical training. This will definitely lead to fruitful outcomes as a result of the female participation in a balanced and continuous economic and social development. To attain this we should first leave behind us the traditional ideas and views on the woman’s role and duty. It is time for all of us, men and women, to work together and introduce positive orientation to get maximum use of women potential and energies. It is my belief that the development of women’s vocational and technical training depends on the society’s acceptance of the fact that the long tradition of male dominance must come to an end.
In Aden:
On the premises of the Federation of Yemeni Women, Mr. Waheed Ali Rashid, Deputy Governor of Aden, inaugurated on 8th March the “Urban Woman’s Development Project”. The project, which is financed by the Dutch Embassy, is executed by Care International, jointly with the FYW. Attending the occasion were also Abdul-Karim Shayif, Assistant Deputy Governor, Tim Kennedy, Representative of Care International in Yemen, and Ms. Tamadher Ahmed Khaled, Coordinator of the project.
At the same time, an exhibition of the work of 17 artists, some of them female, was on display. “We are trying to mobilize all sectors and build linkages. Efforts of women’s groups should be coordinated for maximum impact,” explained Ms. Ihsan Obaid Sa’ad, Chairperson of the FYW in Aden.
The paintings were snatched quickly as visitors capitalized on the reduced prices of the art-pieces. By the 3rd and last day of the exhibition, no painting was still in place.
“We would like to see a more aggressive role for women in public life,” Ms. Sa’ad added. Indeed, she was pointing to the fact that the ability of career women to penetrate into the modern sector was hampered by lingering socio-cultural attitudes and values. “I regret to say that the pace of progress is rather slow, and in some cases, there is even proof of regression,” she pointed out.
Yemeni women are also eager to open up new opportunities. “The world of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) is most suitable for women. This is especially true in light of the positive attitude of international donors to the cause of women,” explained Ms. Ishan Sa’ad.
Ridhwan Al-Saqqaf,
Head of the Aden Bureau,
Yemen Times.
In Taiz:
To coincide with the International Women’s Day – March 8th, a group of women organized a charity bazaar on 11-12/3/1998 at Mohammed Ali Othman School in Taiz.
“The idea of the project was first came up several months ago. Several rich women got together and popped the real question – ‘What to do to help less fortunate Yemeni women?’ Thus the idea of the bazaar was developed,” explains Ms. Ilham Haiderah Saif, one of the zealous leaders of the Taiz women’s movement.
The seed money came as contribution from the rich folks. That in turn was converted into small projects assigned to many groups. The end-result was the products and goods exhibited in the bazaar last week.
In addition, a lot of rich women also donated many clothes and other goods in kind. These were also sold in the bazaar.
“I would like to use this occasion to thank also the businessmen and merchants who participated in the event. They gave many prizes which were used in the raffles,” Ilham explained.
At another level, several women said that having read in the Yemen Times about the efforts of Sanaa women to clean their city, they too followed their lead.
A group of Taiz women got together last week to discuss ways and means to participate in cleaning their city. “We hope to come up with a plan of action to replicate the efforts of the Sanaa women in Taiz,” one of them explained to Yemen Times.
The Taiz Women’s Charitable Society was also active last week. They visited the orphanage in the city and offered gifts. The society had also organized an exhibition during Ramadhan (two months). The proceeds were used to finance voluntary and charitable activities in the city.
Imad Ahmed,
Taiz Office,
Yemen Times.
Under the title “The Project for Evaluating Development Requirements of Al-Mahra Governorate,” a workshop was held during the period 6-7 March 1999. The workshop was inaugurated by Mr. Hassan Al-Ahdal, Governor of Al-Mahra and sponsored by the International Fund for Development(IFD).
The workshop discussed three main potential areas of development in the governorate: agriculture, livestock, and fishery. The papers endorsed on these three areas of development highlighted the importance of these areas, and how to improve a well designed strategy to support and protect the wild life from being an extinct.
The final remarks of the workshop were as follow:
1. To improve and support the fishery associations.
2. Building a factory to can and export fish. The factory to be financed by the World Bank.
3. The participants had pointed out that the workshop did not address the Khuboot storage problem, where fish are usually stored.
4. They also discussed the problems of the ships and the fishing equipment, this problem is been there for many years without a solution.
5. Fishermen need soft loans in order to improve there equipment, and the quality of their business. These loans to be provided by the World Bank and International organizations.
6. Fishermen need to be protected, and a law to regulate fishing has to be implemented. The also blamed the International organization for neglecting the governorate.
7. Women’s welfare associations in the coastal, country and the interior parts of the governorate need to be supported and equipped to help them carry out their work.
8. Roads are in a very bad shape all over the governorate, they need to be repaired, to improve marketing activities and guarantee better and faster deliveries of various products.
9. Eggs are very costly, YR. 15 an egg, and that is because there are no Poultry farms in the governorate.
10. Unavailability of veterinary medicine and doctors, causes a huge lost in livestock.
11. Scarcity of water, due to the absence of modern technology in irrigation, results in people switching professions from farming to fishing. The governorate needs dams and means of preserving water resources.
Saad Ali Muhsain
Yemen Times Correspondence