Youth and social gender (2) [Archives:2005/868/Culture]

August 15 2005

By Houria Mshhoor
For the Yemen Times

Schools' part is a failure in the modernization, education, respect of human rights, democracy, and woman rights. The school is still playing the same role that deepens gender differences. In the school text books Arwa is still helping her mother in the kitchen, Ahmed goes to school, while Bilqis is still playing with her doll and Sami is playing with his ball or gun. This is of course to prepare the children's minds to accept their future functional roles. This reinforces the position of those who have the authority and power, and others who accept this authority.

Even in the kindergartens, the mistress may sometimes reproach a small boy who weeps by saying “are you a girl to weep like that”. The girls in school are still prohibited from playing football, volleyball, or swim because these are considered to be boys' games. This is if these games are ever available at schools. Both private and public schools lack these vitally important activities. The ministry of education can't furnish these activities because they need curriculum, trainers and tools that it couldn't afford.

The school plays no part in preparing the youth for their roles as future parents and development leaders. They are not enlightened on population, and gender matters. Their information is useless, shallow and confusing ones. They are acquired either from peers or shallow sources.

The inability of schools to prepare and train students for labor market, poses a difficulty of merging this important force into these markets. This led to the accumulation of unemployment of university and general schools graduates over the years due to lack of skills. This will be further aggravated by the globalization requirements, which need high skills to merge them in international labor markets, let alone the local ones. This necessitates a swift reconsideration of curriculums to serve development aims.

Important strategic and national related policies

Legislative basis: Article 30 of the constitution states that

(The State protects maternity and childhood, and cares for youth)

The national policy for population indicated the importance of this sector. In one of its sections it stated the following:

Serious measures should be taken to guarantee the health and the good of children, adolescents and youth, on family and community levels. Their awareness should be promoted to avoid the threats of early and late reproduction. They should also have access to population information of social, cultural and health services, which include sex transmitted diseases, especially aids.

The population program for 2001-2005 concentrates on youth, and the important interventions to protect them from exploitation and violations of rights. These interventions are:

– promoting the qualification of the establishments responsible for their protection in addition to observation of carrying out laws and international charters that our country is signatory to.

– To promote awareness through media and population interaction that aims at equal chances for males and females in feeding, health care and education.

– To establish juvenile courts and improve their procedures to make sure that their rights are not abused.

The program also advised efforts to fuse youth in development programs. Their creativeness, youth activities and volunteer services should be encouraged. Education chances for both males and females should be encouraged through the following interventions:

– Accomplishment of “strategy for national youth”

– Enrollment and training of youth in the execution of activities that improve population situations.

– Researches and studies on the youth need to provide services in the field of school and general health, with concentration on reproduction health that will prepare their minds for parenthood.

– To encourage youth to continue their schooling, especially the females.

– To spread awareness among both genders by furnishing the necessary information of the right educational procedures that can protect them from being subjected to information contrary to their religious values.

It is clear that all different procedures suggested by the comprehensive population program were concentrating on improving female situations. This is attributed to the gap due to discrimination between males and females. The programmers felt it is necessary to intervene in order to set this situation into its right track.

The national strategy for incorporating youth in development

The strategy analysis suggested four general aims for promoting youth affairs. They are consistent with the national population policy. These aims are:

– Reform of policies, programs and legislations.

– Support of research, studies and publication.

– Development of information, communication education and motivation.

– Provision of health services especially in the field of primary and reproduction health.

The importance of all these attitudes lies in their implementation in the programs and projects, added to that is the support of youth abilities by presenting aid to their civil organizations, such as the boy scouts, youth associations and children parliament, which are considered to be modern youth training establishments. They help in training them to respect basis of democracy, respect of others, to practice free elections, exchange of leadership, and to accept female contest and membership in these establishments. They will be prepared to give them a chance to bear responsibilities of decision making posts and contribute to development and share in volunteer activities.

The role of media in tackling with youth affairs

The consolidation of gender roles often takes place in school, at home in work sites and community establishments. These may include societies, forums or parties. The community values have the say in what is acceptable and what is not. The media have vital roles in concentrating these roles. It is the authorized cultural mouthpiece that enters everywhere to herald principals. Woman's role in these media establishments is still highlighted as a reproductive crucible with all that is affiliated to this role. Women new role of shouldering family responsibilities and participation in development, which aggravated their burden, is almost ignored. Media should target the youth to change their attitudes towards their new roles inside and outside the family. They should be prepared to respect working woman. The youth interests should be addressed in order to improve their position in family and community.

Many communities encourage their youth to establish their own media, to express their points of view. They also express needs and to prepare and execute development policies.

The limited area that the Yemeni media offer to youth is inconsistent with their role in community.