Political Analysis

Yemeni Women Struggle to Achieve 30% of their Participation

National Yemen

Women Members of National Dialogue

Asma al-Mohattwari

The political participation of women is very important to the development of political, social and economic development in the country. The international community paid attention to their participation and keen to ensure all the importance of ensuring effective participation of women in community issues for the close correlation among women, development, democracy and human rights. Out of the reality that the women are the community issue and without caring about them and give them the freedom, equality, social justice and human rights, the society cannot make any progress.

The women representation in decision-making is still limited as they lack equal representation in governments, in representative institutions such as parliaments and local government, as well as, the weakness of her participation in the power executive. Not only that, but also women limited representation in the civil society organizations and political parties.

Since Yemen authenticated on many international conventions and treaties, including the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) so Yemen obliged to implement these agreements and then integrate them into national legislation, including securing the participation of Yemeni women in political life and create a legislative mechanism to accelerate women’s access to decision-making positions, and within this mechanism is the seats allocation for women in various levels that are represented by not less than (30%).

Although of all the convention, still nothing has been achieved. The National Dialogue Conference (NDC) came to give the women the right of Quota system which is 30% female participation in the political positions in all institutions. Almost 30% of women participated in the NDC and by that women started to apply into the system.

Amatalalim al-Soswa, activist and NDC member, said that the participation of women in the decision-making positions is still weak because there is a gap between the concept of women’s participation and her acceptance and the politicians misunderstanding of the women participation. Al-Soswa said that 30% of women participation is not an aim but a mean to access to promote the women participation fairly and equitably according to their performance and ability, “We don’t want women to participate as a view; we want women with efficient ability and can prove their presence through all the difficulties she may have”.

Related to the Quota system, she said that the 30% participation women override a great part of the war against women. We were able to install the 30% in the legislation, but we would like to put the additional constitutional law also defining women’s quota in the judiciary and the executive branch.

“Some political parties still have a narrow view for the women’s issue and consider it as a personal issue, I wish the NDC outputs could make Yemen live in peace and fair between both male and female” she added.

For those who reject the Quota system for women, al-Soswa said that I don’t see any justification for those who object the 30% for women, and those who make it a religious issue; I want to tell them that women participation doesn’t contradict with religion at all. We are keen to be careful about the holy materials.

Women were happy by their participation in the NDC but after the end of the NDC their happiness had an end. The first decision after the end of the NDC was to determine the members of determining regions commission, but most of the members were men and no quota was achieved in which there were only two between them all.

Arwa Othman, activist and NDC member, said that women did not have there equal participation in the   determining regions commission, “I wonder where all the efficient women who participated in the NDC should be protesting against this decision.”

While Saher Ghanem, activist and NDC member, said that it was not the fault of those who formed the commission but it was the fault of the parties who always presented in the decisions making positions with men and not giving the women the chance they’ve earned.

“So women in the parties have to prove themselves, and there should be a pressure on the Presidency to empower women since the Presidency is the first whom can enable women to achieve their 30%,” she said.

Although there was a step against women, there is also a step with them, Ministers Council approved the adoption of women representation in public offices and leadership positions by 30%.