The Road AheadMaid in Yemen [Archives:2003/641/Business & Economy]

June 12 2003

Raidan Al-Saqqaf
They say, behind every great man stands a women, that may be correct, but are women behind every great nation? What is the role Yemeni women play in the development of Yemen?
Yemeni women represent a little over 50% of the total population, yet their production level is still small compared to the outcome of male production, in addition to that, there are no real efforts done to motivate and welcome women to participate in different fields of industry. In other words, half of our country's potential still lies untapped: our women.
Recently we have heard many arguments about women's participating in the elections and the role women play in the future of our country; we hear about women demanding more in terms of political participation and to hold more important governmental posts, but when it comes to business and industry, there are only a few business women worth mentioning, and in most offices there are at least twice the numbers of men compared working women, however, there is a big contrast between what women want in the media and what they do to take part in business!
My point is simple, women do not hold many important positions in today's businesses because they do not aspire to, exceptions are always there but in general most women think that they will not be capable of handling more important posts with more responsibilities; they sacrifice promising careers because they were brought up to be housewives, to get married off to someone rich and make a family. But in the west, women do whatever they can to grow in business, and in turn their participation in the economic development is significant.
Ironically, it would be easier for Yemeni women to have good business careers, because our cultural system and society support looking after the young in the event of a working women, there are always the grandparents, neighbors or in-laws who create a support system for their kids if the mother is busy or late, I feel this is a risk worth taking especially when working women can double the tiny 2.7 growth rate of our country, and there are women who understand this and are active in this endeavor.
Meet Mrs. Hooria Mashoor, vice president of Women National Committee, she is not only one of the very few women who have been struggling for the development of this country since its birth, but such a sincere lady doing such praiseworthy efforts is exactly what this country needs; a one who actually participate in its development and work hard for the progress of this country before they demand for more.
In conclusion, women are an asset badly utilized, from an economic point of view; half of the population is still economically inactive. And I sincerely believe that behind every great nation stands great women like Mrs. Hooria Mashoor.
Endnote: Why do we expect less from women in business? Why aren't women so much interested in businesses? It is sad that there are no real efforts to motivate women to be active economically; indeed, women need a ministry if that is what it takes to double the growth rate.