Political parties vs women [Archives:2004/762/Local News]

August 9 2004

By Fahmia AL-Fotih
For the Yemen Times

Under the auspices of Ms. Amat AL-Aleem Al-Soswa, the minister of Human Rights, the Sisters' Arab Forum for human rights (SAF) organized on Thursday 5th August the first democratic forum about Women and Political Parties, that took place at Sana'a International Hotel.
Ms. Amat AL-Aleem delivered a speech in which she firstly congratulated SAF for choosing such a sensitive topic that would help to vividly crystallize the position of women in the agenda of political parties and aid its reality. “It is considered that political parties' support for the participation of women in political life, is one of the basic human rights and terms of public freedom. We, in Yemen, live in a particularly democratic atmosphere. However, the political parties have unfortunately not responded to the repeated calls for allocating a percentage of their nominations to female candidates. This consequently supports the negative idea that Yemeni women haven't succeeded and are not qualified.”
Amat AL-Aleem further said “All the parties' programs call for a positive, effective and understanding atmosphere for female participation in democratic nation building. However, most of the parties, if not all, show the opposite, and strongly stress that policy is confined to men. The results of the last parliamentary elections are a proof that women have no place in parties agendas”
Al-Soswa concluded “Everyone has to realize that Yemen cannot achieve progress unless political participation is expanded to include all citizens without segregation. We should work together to eliminate the gap between men and women to fulfill the desired development. Depriving and marginalizing the role of women will negatively affect political life generally, and democracy in particular.”
Ms. Amal AL-Basha, the head of SAF, on the other hand, delivered a welcoming speech in which she said “As a matter of fact our topic today is within a program of empowering women politically, in the Gulf states and Arabia Felix. Woman and Political parties are our topic, through which we will highlight the importance of the political parties as a means of change. We will try to open a door for dialogue. Together, we want to review the role of those parties and their effectiveness, as well as the relationship those parties have with women. A close and objective observation of the current situation of Yemeni parties since the beginning, makes us realize that they have failed to attract women to organizing political work and they have only use them as chess pieces.”
Members from the parliament and the Shura Council, along with a number of diverse political parties, attended the first democratic forum.