Housework restricts women’s economic activity [Archives:2008/1174/Local News]

July 21 2008

By: Yemen Times Staff
SANA'A, July 20 ) A recent study undertaken by the Social Development Fund and supported by the German Development Bank (KFW) showed that the amount of housework together with constraints imposed on women in the society as well as lack of public jobs created a shortage that restricted women's work. Women's main jobs are in the fields of dressmaking, incense and perfume trading, hairstyling, animal husbandry and handcrafts.

A few women who have bigger businesses live in the main cities where there are more chances and larger markets for women who work outside home, such as beauty salons and small stores, according to the study.

The study was conducted between April and June 2008 and confirmed that in spite of the minor projects carried out by the Social Fund in Yemen, only a very few women received official training by the concerned organizations. The majority of women sought assistance from their relatives or neighbors to get limited workplace training. Women who participated in previous workplace training realized that there was no relationship between getting training and receiving loans. This left many of the women stranded without financial resources to make small businesses and projects. In this respect, the study said that investment in training alone, without a follow-up plan to help women enter the workforce, undermines women's capacity.

The concept of loans for small, female-run businesses has become widely known in the society, although the banking and loan institutions stayed away from financing the women, due to doubts about success of these projects. The study also showed that women are less interested in technical training, but there is a demand for workers who have skills in financial services, marketing and product development.

Upon analysis, the report showed that women's products produced by these small businesses were not varied enough. Likewise, the activity of agents affiliated with the small loans institutions was limited and made difficulties for women working outside the home to get extra financial support for their families.

The study recommended that small business loan institutions put in place marketing strategies and plans to spread information that can help achieve more contact between their loan agents and the public.

It is also recommended that the institutions offer technical and financial support to these small businesses and establish cooperative networks among them.