Women in Yemen, drop in workforce [Archives:2003/657/Business & Economy]

August 7 2003

Statements issued by the National Committee in Yemen indicate that Yemeni woman activities in the workforce are still low despite the growth of civil society organisations and growing presence of the woman in it. Workforce market has provided her with opportunity for gaining an equal and increasing chance in the general activity.
Sources in the committee say many of government legislation limit the proportion of the woman participation in work, in addition to prevalent social traditions that prevent her from going for work. This situation is there despite her presence in many societies and organisations as active members, though not as participation effectively in those organisations board of directors. The sources mention that there are complications precluding the woman to be an engineer or a lawyer or to work at military academies or oceanography, let alone the diplomatic corps.
Practically there are work opportunities dominated by men and some legislative help them curb woman's work in areas of investment and free banks.
It is to be noted that there is duality in dealing with Yemeni woman in labour market regarding incentives, wages and travels and all these contribute to give woman frustration with respect to work and her refusal to go to work. This consequently increases the rate of 35 percent unemployment in the market.
The degrading view regarding woman work in Yemen is still prevalent up till now. This view mentions that the woman place is at home only and she has nothing to do with economy or politics.
The proportion of women in the population is more than 51 percent and only a tiny percentage of them work in labour market. The education system in Yemen is now encouraging the woman and education of girls and this means the number of woman employees would be doubled in future. A large proportion of women are specialized in human sciences, literature and languages and this would cause decline in the proportion of woman's presence at scientific specialties and consequently in the labour market.
In context of economic and financial reforms and Yemen's heading for human development there are indicators on improvement of the Yemeni woman position at the labour market, especially that the world donor sides emphasize on this orientation and associate their assistance with development of woman in Yemen.
Sources at the National Community for Women say the Yemeni government does bear the responsibility for the drop in the proportion of woman participation in the workforce especially that there are many reasons precluding her entering the markets particularly social habits and traditions. The sources confirm that the Yemeni woman has gained big political accomplishments. Now she has to get her right to work and to attain equality with man and development of the society along preserving the Arab and Islamic identity.