By: Tahani al-Sabri
Inside a reserved community, most of the men thinks that the woman’s role is restricted at home. The Yemeni woman could break social heritage and make her own role. Women make up half of the society because they are an active component on earth.
Yemeni women have accomplished a lot, making their presence in elections, management, charity work, diplomacy, and other works which have brought out the role of women dramatically. However, women inYemenhave not achieved everything. There is still much to be done.
“I can’t go ahead. the people around me are very bad to finish my work around. The day end and I can’t finish any work,” said Hanan, a young lady who works in accounting.
“We meet a lot of different people every five minutes and are forced to deal with them in a gentle way, but they misunderstand that. It’s the nature of our work. But this case entices a lot of staff and reviewers, who think that it’s specifically done for them. They start to get bad ideas.”
Hanan was frustrated when she described what follows.
“They start saying, ‘she smiled at me, she told me nice things, she looked at me, she promised to take care of my career file, she did this, she did that,’ and so on. Then they starts annoying the woman, like one man in particular. He tried to communicate in a direct and indirect way, intending to be bothersome, which affected career presence. When a woman tries to stop men like this, they begin to discredit her by creating love stories, and lies. This will continue as long as diseased hearts and minds exist.”
Not so far away, Soua’ad, an income secretary in a government department, said, “my work as a secretary requires a high sense to deal with reviewers at the presidential office, which is visited by men on a daily basis. So the manager cares to intervene in how I deal with customers and the rest of the staff.”
“It began with him teaching us how to speak nicely, and the manner in which we deal with people. We said, ‘it’s okay, because it’s a rule required by our jobs.’ But as time passed on, he started talking about our dress, and walk. So we felt harassment and injustice at the beginning, but to make a living, we were forced to be patient and silent.”
“Then, we discovered that he is like a therapist, and targets some of my colleagues for special treatment. Sometimes he distributed financial rewards that were unique, despite everyone doing the same job. He even took some colleagues to special places or to attend private meetings with reviewers.”
Soua’ad added more details to the story.
“Our manager began to deviate from his relationship with my colleagues as office secretaries by inserting himself in personal conversation. He would talk about his own problems, stories, and sexual jokes. He enjoyed seeing the reaction, which varied between shyness, acceptance, and non-acceptance among some of the employees. Some of my colleagues said, ‘our boss loved to see beautiful women around him all the time, even if it was to use them as decoration.'”
The problems do not stop with treatment like this. It can get worse, with verbal harassment and touching. Fatima’a is another example of such an employee. She works at a government organization.
“I have been working for several years, and I have dealt with three managers, each of whom manages to be worse than the one before. Each one tried to court us in different ways, especially with the single employees who don’t have a lot of experience dealing with men.”
“The last boss came in and gave bonuses from day one. He knows we need the money, so he exploited that by telling bad jokes and stories. And he’s going to stop giving the money to anyone who objects to his behavior. So we filed a complaint to the head of where we work, and all he did was write a paper to the General Director. The boss returned with the same behavior. The sad thing is that some of my colleagues have said that the manager has recently begun to touch them, and ask them to go for walks or lunch. Three employees have had to leave.”
Dr. Arwa Shaheen, a private psychologist, said that the problem is perfectly natural.
“This is the nature of man as Allah creates him. The man deals gently with women more than men, unlike women who are intended to treat men with greater toughness. The gentle way that the man showed doesn’t mean betrayal to all the women in his life. Some may talk nice words according to his habits and dealings with women, but most women misunderstand that and interpret them as suppressed desires.”
“Also, we can’t deny socialization. The idea of polygamy without socialization makes women have the wrong ideas about men, and puts tension on the relationship. In general, career harassment is a recent phenomenon that results from employment mixing between genders. It will only be cured by moral upbringing of children over time.”