Women seek one-third quota in government
SANA’A – A two-day workshop intended to help women obtain their political rights during the nation’s transitional period was held on Sunday in Sana’a.
The workshop was conducted by USAID through the Responsive Governance Project (RGP) in cooperation with the Ministry of Human Rights and the Women’s Supreme Council.
RGP Party Chief Scott Thomas said that having women from across the political spectrum is “an extremely good thing and an example of the kind of democracy we all hope will grow and flourish in Yemen.”
The objective of the workshop was to find common ground among women for the conference on March 8. “This is not to say that everyone must agree on everything. But a consensus on key elements on which the women at the workshop can agree will be found,” said Thomas.
Minister of Human Rights Houria Mashhoor said, “The workshop includes not only people from different backgrounds, but also younger women. This indicates that the youth are part of the upcoming phase of change.”
The Women’s National Committee holds an annual celebration on National Women’s Day. At the celebration, focus points are gathered from all around Yemen.
The minister said that this wasn’t the first time such a conference was held. However, participants regarded this conference as more important, with a focus placed on women’s participation rights on the political stage during the two-year transitional period.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative, which is one of the most important factors in the framing of the constitution, included a 20 percent quota for women in one of its drafts. Before, in 2004’s National Women’s Development Strategy, Mashhoor said that they demanded the quota be set at 30 percent for women’s participation in government.
The workshop was attended by nearly a hundred representatives with various political backgrounds, as well as deputy ministers and women’s rights activists.
A committee of eight women will be formed in coordination with the RGP to prepare the national conference.
The women should be from different political, governmental and civil society organization (CSO) backgrounds.
The committee will start meeting on February 1, with its last session planned for March 15. It is to meet once a week to prepare to conduct activities in support of women, to coordinate with donors, and engage women with different social and political issues.
The workshop aims to gather women from throughout the political spectrum and discuss common needs, regardless of individual political agendas. This is to help them attain a considerable quotain committees during the two-year transitional period.
During the workshop, women occupying high positions in ministries presented their visions for their prospective roles in the transitional period.
Nabila Al-Mufti, a lawyer and member of the Watan Collation, gave a presentation analyzing how fair the GCC has been to women.
One draft for the initiative said women should participate in all committees formed during the transitional period. This means that there should even be women on the military committee, according to Al-Mufti.
USAID supported three workshops during the past year. The first was on April 25 and included 35 women from opposition party leadership roles and civil society organizations, as well as youth activists. The second workshop was held on May 23, in which 40 women from the government participated. The third workshop was held on October 26, in cooperation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
35 young female trainees from the training center of the Ministry of Youth and Sports participated in the workshop.
The main target of these workshops was to guarantee a 30 percent quota for women in all transitional councils and in the constitution formulation committee.