Though still limited, Trade unionist work provides Yemeni woman job opportunity, protection [Archives:2003/634/Business & Economy]

May 5 2003

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly

Woman representation in trade unionist area is an aspect of human rights, but it is still limited compared to men membership in trade unions. This is the present case in Yemen despite the fact that trade unionist activity in general is still weak and of limited sphere, especially by the mass organizations.
According to legislation in Yemen the woman has the right to join trade and professional unions existing in the country with the aim that women are offered larger scopes for entering fields of work in public life. Official figures reveal that women participation in trade unions leading bodies reaches 15 per cent, as has been mentioned in the national report issued by the National Supreme Committee for Human Rights.
The report, a copy of which the Yemen Times received, says the proportion of women participation in branches of general federation of trade unions in governorates reaches to ten percent and their participation in the central council of the trade union federation there are 11 women out of a total number of 115 male members.
There is not a single woman member at the executive office of the general federation of trade unions. Instead of that a committee was set up for the working woman comprises five members.
The report voices its criticism with regard to this limited participation as compared to the percentage of men for many reasons including:
– woman recent participation in trade unionist field,
– majority of women non-conviction of the avail of their participation in trade unionist work,
– woman's short-sightedness concerning the significance of the benefit she would gain from her participation in trade unionist work and the opportunity of providing jobs for the unemployed women.
Nevertheless the report by the National Supreme Committee for Human Rights mentions that the republic's federation of trade unions and other unionist formations where woman is represented has lately comprehended the necessity of women participation in trade unionist work and that they have been given limited area in freedom in membership at he trade unionist bodies. Freedom to this joining has not risen to the level of engaging women in leading bodies. This is a matter necessitating enhancement of participation for the purpose of guaranteeing working women rights and defending their rights in work as well as protecting them against arbitrary discharge and harassment.
Thus pops a dire need for strengthening women role in trade unionist bodies for the protection of their rights in both practical and general life.