Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New five-year plan to empower Yemeni women

By Sadeq Al-Wesabi

Sana'a- Mar 1, 2011- The Women's National Committee (WNC) issued its fourth five-year plan on Feb. 22nd, that aims to empower Yemeni women in economic, social, educational, cultural and political fields.

The plan seeks to increase the rate of female employment to 30 percent over the next five years. The plan also aims to train 15,000 women and provide them with financial support and jobs opportunities, as well as open new doors for female entrepreneurs to start their own businesses. The plan endeavors to integrate women into the job market and increase their competitiveness in applying for top positions.

Hooria Mashoor, head of the WNC said during a press conference last Tuesday, that all previous plans relating to women have focused solely on issues of health and education, because women working in these fields are considered socially acceptable.

Mashoor told the Yemen Times that the new plan attempts to integrate women into four of the most promising economic fields in Yemen, including fisheries, agriculture, tourism and startup industrial projects. She also stressed the importance of education, describing it as "a cornerstone of women's success."

"We cannot empower women economically or politically if they do not have access to a proper education," she said.

Mashoor indicated that the last three five-year plans were not implemented as required. She said that the government authorities involved lacked skilled employees which negatively affected the implementation of previous plans.

"Corruption and unskilled employees in these sectors put obstacles in the way of the success of these plans. We don't suffer from a financial crisis in Yemen, but from a lack of honest and professional government employees," she explained.

"In some government sectors, employees have been chosen only for political reasons. Those sectors don't hire qualified people who can work well and implement these plans," she said.

She expressed her fears about current events and the unstable political climate in Yemen that, according to her, will hinder implementing the plan. "If there is no political stability in the coming days, the plan will be impeded," she said.

Hana'a Howedi, executive director of the WNC said that many field teams have worked on this plan for months, including the work of different ministries and officials.

In the education sector, Howedi said that the plan endeavors to increase girls' enrollment in schools to 95 percent by 2015, and augment scholarship programs for female students attending university.

According to the Howedi, the plan also aims to reduce the rate of maternal mortality, increase the use of family planning methods, and expand sanitation services.

In the legal and political arena, Howedi said that the plan aims at amending discriminatory language in 32 Yemeni laws. "In addition, the plan will establish special departments to help Yemeni female lawyers and litigators into the courts to argue for their rights," she said.

There are also attempts at curtailing violence against women. Howedi indicated that one of the objectives of the plan is the building of 10 special houses for battered women, and the establishing new departments in police stations to receive domestic violence reports.

Source: Yemen Times

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