Women and Decision Making [Archives:1999/29/Culture]

July 19 1999

A working team of consultants has been formed by the regional office of the Arab countries and the United Nations Development Program, in reference to the position of women and increasing their power and authority in the middle east. The first meeting was held in Casablanca, Morocco, in which ladies from many different countries, including ours, participated. The team took upon itself the study of different issues in the life of the Arab woman in the position of decision making, and the feasibility of making a regional attempt, helped by the UNDP, in this regard. All see the importance of improving the position of women in the Arab countries, as they are still deprived of lots of their rights. The team also agree on making a working draft/program to activate the regional attempts in reference to the state of women, and to help give them the right of making decisions. The program comprises the following activities:
1- Discussions about the positions of women at the national level in each Arab country and trying to reach a decision in view of this issue before the end of July at the latest.
2- Trying to be in contact so that the women working at the academic level, and in media, parliament and business, can exchange opinions at the Arab level and to have a reference in this regard.
3- Trying to follow the development of women in taking responsibility and making decisions on the national level.
4-Making a comprehensive study including the following:
* The obstacles facing women who desire to reach high positions.
* Documenting the development of women and make records of the pioneering women.
* Women’s pictures being depicted in the school curricula.
* Women’s pictures in the Arab media.
5- Holding a regional meeting on the Arab level to discuss the role of the Arab media in the development of women’s positions.
Yemen has showed a special interest in this issue. The women’s national committee has started its work in discussing women’s position and the obstacles they face. The national committee intends to hold meetings to discuss this important issue in the presence of people from the government and decision makers in order to learn the reasons for and the nature of the obstacles that hinder women in gaining control and power – whether social, political, or legal, indicated Amat Al-Aleem Al-Sooswah, the chairman of the women’s national committee. Therefore, the national committee held an open discussion in order to reach concrete results. It was attended by Abdul Kader Ba Gamal, the vice chairman of the Prime Minister and Minister of the Exterior, who emphasized the importance of the participation of women in the different fields of life and more importantly in the democratic process. In this meeting, four papers were presented to experts. They are as follows:
1- Working paper on the difficulties and obstacles women face in
reaching the positions presented by Dr. Abdul Hadee Al-Hamadanee, vice manager of the president’s office. It discussed:
* the political rights women have gained so far.
* the obstacles o then women’s road to power.
* the role of the government in encouraging women to gain power and authority.
Despite the numerous difficulties women face, great efforts are made by the government, and also great achievements are accomplished by women.
The second paper was presented by Ramziah Al-Arianee, the Deputy Minister in the Ministry of the Exterior. The paper indicated the status of Yemeni women in history of Yemen either in the political or cultural level. the paper has also indicated the suffering of women at the face of literacy and deterioration. Ramziah has also made clear that women should be given their right in making decision for some women are highly qualified and competent but they only lack the position in order to implement their skill and knowledge.
Another paper about the picture of women in the studying curricula introduced by Dr. Bader Saeed Al-Aghbaree, the Dean of the Faculty of Education, Arts and Sciences in Ghawlan. He pointed the extent to which studying curricula help in changing the view towards women.
Another paper about the position of women in the media was presented by Mr. Noman Al-Masoodee, the National Expert for Media and Communication and the UNICEF Media Consultant. He talked about the dominant role of women in the history, and what they could achieve after the revolution. He said that the media is not for women, because it has only reflected a distorted picture about them.
He asserted that the media should play a vital role in educating women and getting them out of literacy and that some attention should be paid to the women living in the country which constitutes the majority of women in Yemen. So there should be a change with reference to the view of women.
Then Miss. Catrin Fuchs, an Ex-Member of the Administrative Association of the Social Democratic Party said that she has heard a lot about the state of Yemeni women, and about her struggles to learn and work, which do not vary much from the experiences of the German women in the past.
By: Ahlam Al-Mutawaki
Yemen Times