As the 27 April elections approach:Women politically ignored [Archives:2003/632/Reportage]

April 21 2003
Dr. Qahtan
Dr. Qahtan
Farouq Al-Kamali
Participants during the second symposium held in Taiz on April, 13 have called for the support extended for female candidates to the upcoming elections scheduled on April 27.
The participants have practically and actively participated in the symposium and all their suggestions were very much related to the difficulties as well as hardships faced by women.
The symposium was actually a real endeavor to promote women conditions and change their present situation to the better.”
It has become politically, socially, economically, culturally important to form a national strategy for working Yemeni women so as to promote their work.
Participants have called on political parties and those who stand for electing female candidates have to support them during elections.
The symposium which was organized by the Human Rights & Information Training Center, HRITC and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung focused basically on a number of working papers in an attempt to deal with difficulties and obstacle faced by Yemeni woman as a candidate and as an active participant in decision making.
Ezz Addeen al-Asbahi, the Director of the Human Rights Information and Training Center, HRITC, had attributed the main reasons behind woman's fall-out in the political participation to two reasons:
First, the political parties in this regard hasn't showed a sense of seriousness on the part of women.
If those political parties desire to elect woman candidate, they will do it in a very simple manner.
The main political parties such as, the Peoples General Congress, GPC, Islah Party, the Yemeni Socialist Party, YSP could appoint woman candidates to be elected during the upcoming elections. Perhaps the partisan will has been still inadequate.
Second, the condition that has been laid down by the Supreme Commission for Election and Referendum, SCER, regarding the necessity to recommend a candidate by the 300 parliamentary members has blocked the way for a number of independent candidates, particularly, women.
“There are also a number of other reasons that have complicated the matter, such as, culture, conventions and the society's point of view.
“There is a also education slowdown, spread of illiteracy, and women's feeble personalities. All those factors in general and political parties in particular have led to the women's fall-out,” al-Asbahi concluded.
The election monitors on the other hand have showed their resentment over the fallback of women's candidates.
Despite of the high increase of female registrants in 40 constituencies, a clear indication of women's fall-out has been clearly felt. It suggests a dreadful fall-out on the part of women's political participation.
Nowadays, and after 10 years since the beginning of running a parliamentary elections in Yemen, the women's opportunity to reach to the parliament seems to be weak.
Perhaps, the political parties have conspired against women with regard to their rights to reach the parliament and in decision making.
In addition to this, the society's negative conventions towards woman represents a stumbling block in front of woman's progress in the political arena and other vital fields.
A number of female candidates ran the 1993 elections but they are unlucky and above all they couldn't run the 2003 elections.
Wedad Arromaima, is among those who contested in the 1993 elections for the al-Haq party.
Wedad has summed up following reasons behind women's fall-out in the political participation and candidature:
The society's outlook towards women as a female candidate is not fully supported and the society along with the political parties don't support her.
As she had experienced the 1993 elections, even women refused to support the be elected in elections.
“There are also women and above all well -educated, reject to support their counterparts and they also oppose them,” she said.
“I've been desiring to run for the 2003 elections for the GPC, but for partisan reasons, I've changed my mind up for not to be elected in accordance with political platforms,” she noted further.
Wedad doesn't lose hope and she predicts that the upcoming years will stand victorious for woman's political parties.
Suad al-Qadasi, the Chairwomen for the Women's Forum for Research and Training, WFRT, sees that the main reasons behind woman's fall-out in the political participation can be attributed to the society's reality which usually doesn't allow applying the theory of equality.
“Man is the owner of the decision making and he always the strongest on the part of allotting the social work. We reiterate for both, the government as well as the opposition that the Yemen's society can not be developed unless there is no cooperation performed by both men and women,” she further highlighted.
“There is intention to marginalize woman's capabilities in the decision making. Such marginalization starts first within the family itself and ends there at the decision making centers at the state,” the WFRT Chairwomen said.
Al-Qadasi has made clear that women constitute the half population.
She said that the number of female registrants have reached to 43 percent. “It is necessary to respect such figures when allotting parliamentary seats,” she said.
What do women desire?
Dr. Fowzia Hassona, Sociology Prof., Taiz University, placed great emphasis on that the Yemeni woman has been still under the cudgel of strict habits and conventions.
But the main cause behind women's fall-out is that the parties avoid nominating women for fear that they will not win the seats,” she said.
Dr. Mohammed Ali Qahtan, the Dean of the Administrative Sciences College sees that the main reasons behind woman's fall-out in the elections are the unacceptable hereditary conventions, illiteracy, education slowdown, their economic fall-out along with adopting other wrong religious notions that deprive women from the right of nomination.
Fatima, Arriashi, an Administrator at the Law Faculty has a different point of view on that woman has been progressing in the context of decision making and has practiced her rights in nomination.
“Woman by no means is not an inactive member, she has become an active in the field of economic, political and vocational fields,” Fatima noted further.
Fatima is optimistic on that the opportunity of woman's success will be promising in the near future and in the local councils or parliamentary elections.
Women's political participation remains a controversial issue in oppositions and governmental organs.
The official authorities should give the issue of women's leadership full attention.
The problem is there, and the solution can by through the government and opposition parties adoption of women political participation, that is concerned with the many problems of Yemeni women.