Yemeni women break into male market [Archives:2007/1111/Local News]

December 13 2007

By : Nawal Ali
SANA'A, Dec,12 ) Yemeni businesswomen launched in their first meeting last week in Sana'a the Yemeni Businesswomen Unit related to the Yemeni Businessmen's Club.

The meeting was led by Arwa Al-Adimi and dedicated by the head of Yemeni Businessmen's Club Chair Ahmed Ba Zara'a.

He said that this unit will promote and improve women's institutional practical performance, confirming that the unit's activities will develop more and more in the coming year.

“Women were absent in the business world for ages and we are hopeful that this new unit will be the first step towards new private sectors. I ask every businesswoman to join men in investment projects in order to develop society and also I asked all the national and local NGOs to support businesswomen and facilitate difficulties they may encounter,” Ba-Zara'a stated.

He stated that they are going to adopt different programs to support this unit in order to improve businesswomen's skills which comply with their ambitions.

“Though Yemeni traditional customs are really strict with regard to women, the acknowledgement of Yemeni businessmen that there is a businesswoman's unit is really a positive step, and it means that they accept women as market competitors,” Ba-Zara'a added.

Furthermore, businesswomen's unit head Arwa Al-Adimi ensured that the unit's message is to activate Yemeni women in economic development and promote the relationship between all businesswomen through adopting special programs and activities to polish their practical skills according to Islamic principles.

“The unit has only ten businesswomen registered formally,” Al-Adimi stated, adding that Yemeni businesswomen still need support in training and promoting their experiences in the market.

In this regard, an academic study carried out last year mentioned that a lack of government jobs, the low economic circumstances at home and the desires to own independent projects are the main reasons which lead Yemeni women to break into the market and run their own business.

The study, which carried out by Dr.Hassina Al-khadery, the head of the women's center in Sana'a University, revealed that most Yemeni businesswomen's ages are between 20 to 40 years old, “because these ages allow her to play her role actively as a businesswoman and as a wife and mother at the same time.”

However, the study pointed out that not all Yemeni businesswomen have registered in the Chamber of Commerce, so the number of registered businesswomen does not reflect the real number of all businesswomen in the Yemeni market. According to the study, most Yemeni businesswomen do not register to avoid taxes, as well as for social reasons .

The reason behind the success of these women, according to the study, is the support of the husband and the family who can also be their financial sponsors. “Yemeni businesswomen invest in many sectors, including services, education, entrepreneurship, banks, and agriculture,” claimed the study.

The World Bank (WB) has already declared that it will support businesswomen in nineteen countries, including Yemen. According to the WB, higher rankings on the ease of doing business are associated with higher percentages of women among entrepreneurs and employees. “Regulatory reform leads to especially large benefits for women,” said Dahlia Khalifa, Doing Business spokesperson. “Women often face regulations that may be aimed at protecting them, but instead force them into back-office jobs, where they have little job security and few social benefits.”

The first Yemeni businesswomen office was opened in 2005 in the industrial trade chamber in Sana'a.