Yield of a woman’s work [Archives:2006/975/Business & Economy]

August 24 2006

By: YemenTimes staff
Women play an integral role in the Development of the country.

The legal framework and the socio-political environment of the country allows women to actively participate in productive activates with minimum complications. This legal framework includes civil service regulation, civil records, employment, social security, legal authorities and other government services that represent the legal basis to allow Yemeni women their political, economic and social rights as well as increase the participation of women in all aspects of civil life in the country.

However, studies indicate the participation of women in Yemen is far from its potential, mainly due to social constraints that limit the number of productive jobs women can take part in, as well as the high level of illiteracy among women reaching nearly 80 percent, Education and knowledge are the basis of value-added productivity, including primary and secondary education as well as higher education and vocational training, and women are being held back from reaching their productive potential.

Nevertheless, a national strategy administered by the Women's National Committee was laid out in order to develop women's roles in national economic development between 2003 and 2005. It was the first national strategy to integrate with various government agencies and sectors following the national population policies endorsed by the government. However, the outcome of this strategy was jeopardized by the demographic conditions of the country, as well as the economic deterioration which resulted in reduced investment in women.

Estimates indicate that female employment in agriculture reaches up to two thirds of all female employment, compared to the workforce average of just over 50 percent. In many locations of the country female labor in agriculture is considered free labor. Even in other sectors such as education and teaching, a profession deemed acceptable and popular among females in the Yemeni society, studies find that only a fifth of teachers in Yemen are female.

There are no official statistics on women's employment or economic output in Yemen, but employment in Yemen is divided into three main sectors. It starts with agriculture, 54 percent, followed by services, 34 percent and lastly Industry, inclusive of manufacturing and oil-related sectors, at only 12 percent. However those statistics might be undermined by the fact that it does not take into consideration the employment of males and of females which might, in turn, portray a different picture on the economic activities of men and women and compare that to the yield of both genders.

Therefore, Yemen will not achieve the maximum potential if women are not encouraged to play a more active role in the economy, starting from increased investment in women's education and training to facilitate their work and active participation in the economy.