Women’s NGOs Meet [Archives:1997/50/Culture]

December 15 1997

Governmental Counterparts
Doa’a Taha Abdulqader, Yemen Times
Supported by the Prime Minister Dr. Faraj Bin Ghanim, and jointly organized by the Women’s National Committee (WNC) and the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), a consultation meeting was held by several governmental and non-governmental women’s organizations. Altogether, there were around 80 organizations from different parts of Yemen that discussed on two successive days – December 10 and 11 – various issues of concern to women. Despite this rather big number of both governmental organizations and NGOs, women in Yemen often find themselves without real gains, social or otherwise. So the aim of the meeting was to really get something going for women. The 300 or so participants were divided into 3 groups so as to achieve maximum coordination, draw the necessary action plans, and to avoid having the same goals by different organizations. In his opening speech, the Prime Minister stressed “the government’s great interest in increasing women’s participation in the political, social, and economic life of the nation.” He considered this the patriotic duty of every individual. “As part of the economic, financial, and administrative reform program, the government aims to implement various programs to help vitalize women’s participation in all spheres of life and to help them gain their full rights as citizens,” added Dr. Bin Ghanim. Moreover, the Prime Minister also called on all political parties, civic societies, and intellectuals to closely study women and family issues, and to try to raise women awareness of their political and legal rights. The WNC chairman and Deputy Minister of Information, Ms Amatulaleem Al-Soswa has emphasized the necessity for women to actively take part public life. She said, “women will have to bear a lot of responsibility in the development process.” She specifically mentioned the restrictive current Personal Status Law and other legislation as the obstacles that have to be removed in order to allow women a bigger role in Yemen’s life. About 80% of women in Yemen are illiterate. Eradicating illiteracy is the first step towards liberating women from the constraints of ignorance and marginalization.
The participants made the following recommendations: 1- More coordination should be done between governmental and non-governmental organizations. 2- More attention must be given to eradicating female illiteracy. 3- A special law must be enacted to control and regulate NGO activity 4- Rules and regulations must be introduced to govern the means of getting international funding. 5- Special policies and strategies must be introduced to deal with the problems of poverty, disease, education, etc. 6- A fully staffed information unit must be established to produce information items for governmental and non-governmental organizations.