Khadijah Radman to the Yemen Times:”I hope that efforts will be geared towards empowering women leaderships in different posts” [Archives:2008/1205/Reportage]

November 6 2008

Khadija Radman Mohmmad Ghanim is the Deputy Minister of Local Administration. She is in charge of the Women's Affairs Department.

Yemen Times' Reporter Mahmoud Assamiee conducted the following interview with Radman to find out more about her and the Ministry of Local Administration.

Q: What is your role as Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Local Administration?

A new sector for women development affairs has been created, as part of the implementation for the President's electoral Program for enabling woman in all fields. I was appointed deputy minister for this sector's affairs. This sector fulfills woman's development needs in local councils. There has been a necessity for creating this sector for setting up policies for woman's participation in the development.

Q: What are the processes of integrating gender in the ministry through the sector of women's development affairs?

We work in cooperation and coordination with the Woman National Committee (WNC) on setting up the general policy for integrating gender in development according to the National Strategy for Woman Development (NSWD). Through this sector, communication plans with NSWD and woman departments in ministries are drawn. Our duty is to coordinate with these bodies to ensure that they have included woman development needs at a governorates level. Our duties are focused in the governorates, we issued a republican decree for establishing general managements for women in the governorates. We have worked on preparing duties and specializations according to the Minister Council's Decision 279, authorizing Ministries of Local Administration, Civil Service and Insurances and of Legal Affairs to prepare duties and specializations for woman development departments.

Q: Being a woman in a high leading post, do you face difficulties in dealing with men and do you feel difficulty from your subordinates accepting your directives as woman?

I do not face any difficulty in dealing with my subordinates. However, I find difficulty with afternoon meetings because of Qat chewing. For my bosses, I find cooperation from the Minister Abdul-Qader Hilal and Vice Minister Hamed Ja'afar who always share the ministry's work with me.

We work as a family and do not face any challenges. When I chair a meeting to assistant deputy ministers and general managers, I find acceptance and assistance.

Q: Are there other women in the ministry occupying leading posts?

Yes. We have a woman occupying the post of general manager and two deputies for general managers. There are future nominations for other female general directors in our sector. I hope that other women get leading posts in other sectors. Nevertheless, I want to say that the women themselves have to aspire to have leading posts.

Q: Is female representation in the ministry weak? If so, Why?

Yes. Female representation in the ministry is weak and is weaker in the leading posts for many reasons, among which are women's reluctance to move outside the country, her refusal to work in afternoon shift, and difficulties in conducting field visits for social reasons and because of the nature of the work. But there is a political willingness to encourage women to have leading posts.

Q: With a new strategy for electing governors, in your opinion what will be the difference between governors and secretary-generals of local councils in this way?

Any one who has followed the president's addresses and suggestions for the constitutional amendments will find that the addresses and the amendments contain hints for amending the local authority's law stipulating that the governors are to be elected and secretary-generals to be appointed.

Q: which one represents the citizens more; the governor or the secretary- general?

Of course, the governor represents the citizens more because he is elected while the secretary general is appointed.

Q: We heard also about electing district directors, is this true?

This is true. According to the constitutional and law amendments, the district directors will be elected.

Q: To what extent are the local councils successful?

There are malfunctions and there are successes according to our infrastructure and qualification of human resources.

Q: From your viewpoint, what are the reasons for the absence of women in filling the local councils' leading posts?

In terms of women occupying leading posts in the local councils, we have the secretary general of Assada district in the local council of Ebb governorate and thirty eight members across the country.

This number is few compared to male members, which amount to more than 7000 across the country. The reasons behind this refer to the political parties' discouragement of women for leading posts, the lack of social understanding regarding the abilities of women, the role of media outlets in encouraging women and enlightening people in their roles, and the limitation of the women's movement.

I hope that efforts will be geared towards empowering women leaderships in different posts whether governmental or in civil society. That these efforts are geared towards carrying out development programs to the rural woman in different environments; in the village, coast, desert, mountains and valleys, for educating her and including her in all plans.