New Network for Advocating Women’s Issues

National Yemen

Asma al-Mohattwari

On September 4th, the Media for Advocating Women’s Issues Network (MAWIN) concluded a workshop on investigative journalism and gender that was organized in collaboration with the United Nations Fund for Population (UNFPA) and the Family Care Association.

Over four days, the workshop aimed to train 30 male and female journalists in various audio-visual and readable media about the laws and international treaties and conventions on the economic, social and political rights of women.

In the inauguration and MAWIN declaration ceremony, the Yemeni President Advisor for Media Affairs, Mahbob Ali, said that advocating women’s issues is not an initiative or a gift or a favor given to women but it is a responsibility and humanitarian and religious duty for the whole society.

“It is impossible to achieve any development, growth, prosperity or to start building a modern civil state in the absence of Yemeni women’s roles. Advocacy of women’s issues is advocacy for issues of peace, tolerance, brotherhood, and the protection of motherhood and childhood,” he added.

Yemeni President Advisor for Women’s Affairs, Fayqa al-Saeed said that the role of women in the movement of change is great in addition to the revolutions of September and October and their positive roles in the comprehensive National Dialogue Conference (NDC).

Al-Saeed stressed the need to rally around the NDC outputs where everyone agreed for change. “Women have been able to take a number of important decisions in the NDC the most important is her positions in decision-making and the three powers of legislative, executive and judicial government, no less than 30%,” he stated.

Lene K. Christiansen, UNFPA Representative to Yemen, said the initiative to create a network that was born during the celebration of International Women’s Day last March is a translation of the commitment of its members to defend women’s issues in Yemen.

She expressed her excitement about the efforts made by the members of the network to reach this achievement, saying media plays an important role in today’s society and in promoting gender equality. “Equality between women and men focuses on creating balance to protect the fundamental rights of a human being, male and female, young and old alike.”

She pointed out that, the global index of gender equality classified Yemen the last of 134 countries and the maternal mortality in Yemen is still one of the highest rates in the region, with 148 women or girls dying per 100 thousand live births.

Christiansen added that illiteracy among young girls in Yemen is high and about 52% of married girls are usually married to much older men and 14% of girls are married when they are under 15 years of age.

She explained that gender-based violence is disproportionately affecting women and girls and leaves long-term effects on the lives and the future of women who are subjected to it.