A Workshop on Women in Local Decision-Making Positions
The workshop took place on Thursday, September 30, 2021.

The speakers were:

1. Rana Ghanem: a political and human rights activist - the assistant secretary of the Nasserite party - a member of the peace negotiations (Kuwait - Geneva - Sweden).
2. Aida Hussein Ashour: Coordinator of the National Committee for Women in Belhaj - Member of the National Dialogue Conference - Member of Feminist Solidarity - Member of the Women's Partisan Bloc - and a member of the National Accord Movement.
3. Fahmy Al-Nahari: Journalist - President of the Abjad Foundation.
The meeting began with a welcome and introduction to the guests and a review of the importance and topic of the meeting. Each speaker was given 15 minutes to review its topic and at the end of the presentation a number of recommendations were raised.

Rana Ghanem spoke about evaluating the experiences of women in the local authority in Yemen
She began her speech by defining the law as the local authority of the local councils system, which is based on the provisions of the constitution and the law on the provisions of administrative and financial decentralization and on the basis of expanding popular participation in decision-making.

She pointed out that two sessions of local councils after the establishment of Yemeni unity, the first was in February 2001, when 120 women applied for elections, and before the start of the elections, 37 women withdrew, and this number gives us an idea of the size of the small entrance compared to the total number of local elections compared to men sometimes on the The district level advances (7000), the second 2006 (138) women applied for the local council elections and (11) women withdrew, and elections were supposed to take place in 2010, but due to the political turmoil and forebodings of the February 2011 revolution, no elections have taken place until now. Here is the percentage of women’s participation In the local councils, it did not exceed half of 1%, and this indicates what the output or output will be. In addition to a set of difficulties and challenges faced by women, including during the electoral campaign, and the low level of support they received, however, we note the victory of a woman from Saada in the 2001 elections and a woman representing the islands of Socotra, Kamran and Abdo al-Kuri, and when we focus on these remote and tribal areas, how did she manage Women win. This is an indication of the insistence of women and that if they have the opportunity and real support from the state and political parties

She emphasized that the local councils are very important because they make women more connected with the local reality and make women invite other women to interact at the higher level (parliamentary) elections.

She also pointed out the small number of field studies that dealt with the evaluation and experiences of women in local councils, with the exception of one study carried out by the Arab Sisters Forum in 2001, which was with the women themselves. their efforts, with the exception of 20% who answered that they were satisfied with their level of performance.

Today, after the entry of the war and the problem of local councils and the fragmentation of the state, it is reflected in the level of performance of the local councils and life in general. There are some appointments in some executive offices, but what was presented and talked about previously are the elections that are supposed to be.

There were previously problems in the work of the local councils themselves in approving decentralization and powers, revenues, level of qualification and training

She stressed that women's active participation needs a state and institutions, and we hear about some stories about the success of a number of women in localities in solving some local problems, and this indicates the capabilities of women, but there must be an incubator for them to stand out at the state level.

It concluded with a set of recommendations, the most important of which are:

1. Activating the role of women’s political participation in local councils by applying a quota system of no less than 30% according to the outcomes of the national dialogue, which is agreed upon by most political forces.
2. Active participation of women in the work of parties, and the strengthening of their roles, because they are channels and entrances that facilitate their participation in local and parliamentary councils.
3. Activating the role of the media and educational curricula to enhance the roles of women in society in general.
4. Establishing centers for rehabilitation and leadership and administrative development for members and cadres of local councils.

Ms. Aida Hassan Ashour spoke about: the challenges facing the decline in women's participation in the local authority hierarchy and decision-making positions.
She started her talk about the importance of women's participation and their right to do so, and that it is part of the social structure of Yemeni society.

Deepening the understanding of women’s participation in the rights guaranteed to them by the constitution, and the results of the National Dialogue Conference in terms of their participation of no less than 30%, but there is a decline in the level of political participation, and this is due to a number of challenges, including: the lack of political will and this was evident in the new formation of the government without women, The lack of political empowerment of women, as women need training and rehabilitation, the economic situation and poverty, which led to depriving girls of education and not rehabilitating them, which in turn deprives them of holding political positions, the decline in the performance of political parties, which is reflected in the level of political decision-making, parties consider the most stable incubating environment to participate in Elections, failure to activate the status of women within parties, restricting women to the “women’s sector only”, failure to allocate women in electoral programs, single district system “in Lahj, women participated in the local council elections and women succeeded in these elections,” including a woman at the governorate level.

And other women at the level of the district of Al-Houta, the local authority law. Although there are elections, the presidency of the local council is based on an appointment from the executive authority. And here for the committees in the local authority, women must be in the chair of the committees. Why are they satisfied with their membership only? The absence of the media role to promote and advocate for partisan women’s issues The weak partnership between parties and civil society organizations. It listed an initiative carried out by partisan women from 6 different parties and a large number of women to advocate for their causes and to rely on international resolutions, including Resolution 1325.

It concluded with a set of recommendations:
1.     A political will that works to reconsider all legislation and laws that limit women's participation, and enact legislation that guarantees women real participation in political decision-making and the local authority to exercise
all their political, social and economic rights.
2.    Providing training and rehabilitation programs for women, enabling them to achieve balance in their various life roles, and raising awareness of their rights and duties to assume political positions.
3.    Advancing the economic aspect of women, providing the necessities of a decent life, empowering them and paying attention to their education and support in the labor market and in the field of small projects, improving the social situation and eliminating all types of family discrimination.
4.    Restore life to political parties, and activate their participation in ending the war and establishing peace.
5.    Activating the role of parties in building women's political awareness, and a commitment to integrating gender "women's issues" into the programs of parties and political components to ensure effective participation and women's access to decision-making positions.
6.    The existence of a text obligating the local councils in which there is a woman to enable her to chair a committee in the local council.
7.    Activating the 30% quota system, which is one of the means that contribute to the participation of women in decision-making positions
8.    Activating the role of the media in raising awareness and advocating for women's issues.
9.    Strengthening the partnership between women of grief, political components, civil society organizations and regional and international organizations for effective partnership in decision-making and peace-building stages.

Professor Fouad Al-Nahari spoke about how to ensure the representation of women in local decision-making positions.

He started his talk about the traditional societal environment in which Yemeni women live, and how these women are found in rural communities that lack basic services.
And let us not forget the conflicts, disputes and divisions that Yemen has been suffering from for more than 10 years, and how women were more harmful than them, and pointed to the educational gap between women’s circles before the war, and expectations that this gap will have increased more, as education is the real incentive that will lead to the actual empowerment of women in various aspects of life.

Since the end of the nineties and the beginning of this century, she and her cause had a presence, and how she was able to reach representation in the government as an ambassador and a minister, as she had a presence in the judiciary, but the prominent presence in civil society organizations while her presence in the parties was disappointing, despite the parties ranting about women's issues.
Despite the civil movement from organizations and the media, which appeals to push women to decision-making positions, but because of the current situation in Yemen, it was an obstacle to these efforts and the arrest of this movement.

Parties are satisfied with restricting women in the women's sector, which is negative discrimination and limits the capabilities and skills of women.

The presence of women was prominent and bright through the National Dialogue Conference and its results and outputs. Women represented 30%, and it is considered a basic rule on which to build.

He pointed out that there are some customs and traditions that are unfair to women's rights in some societies.

He cited the position of some on the meeting of the new envoy with the advisory committee of women, and how they were attacked by some educated and well-known personalities.

Hence, we can say that the empowerment of women and their access to decision-making positions requires strong political will, and this means the presence of the state. Which will be reflected in the level of economic empowerment and education. Determining a percentage of women’s employment, as the percentage of their employment is not mentioned, and any uneducated and unemployed woman cannot get an opportunity to participate in decision-making positions, and the adoption of a 30% quota system to take a decision package that ensures effective and real participation for women.

Empowering women and their access to decision-making positions depends on political will, support for parties, civil society organizations, and media support.


1. The individual constituency does not represent democracy for the participation of women, it does not give parties real representation, so what about women, the best is proportional elections and electoral programs. For local and parliamentary councils.
2. Obligating the parties to the outcomes of the national dialogue to specify a percentage of women's access to membership in local councils, parliaments or the shura.
3. Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women
4. Modifying social norms and patterns towards women.
5. That the state takes legal and constitutional measures to embody the principle of equality between men and women.
6. Granting women legal and political capacity.
7. Establishing national institutional frameworks.

After the presentation of the axes was completed, an opportunity was opened for the interventions of the attendees, which were as follows:

Walid Abdel Hafeez: I will talk about my experience with the Search for Common Ground through the Women and Peace project. The project was in the governorates of (Taiz, Lahj and Abyan) and I was surprised in Lahj, where there was a fine feminist movement before the war. From the governor is to ask a direct question to the attendees who are willing to be the governor’s advisor for women’s affairs, and those who are willing to be the director of the women’s department at the level of the districts, and at the same moment a decision was issued to appoint an advisor for women’s affairs at the governorate level

The presence of women at the local decision-making level is important today, after 7 years since the parties have moved away from playing their role on the field, the presence of women has weakened.

Today, women are present through civil society organizations and community initiatives, and that momentum is no longer the previous one. From my point of view, the presence of women in decision-making positions may be easier, but there are many inconveniences, as the parties to the conflict resort to politicizing this presence and counting on a specific party. The presence of women in these sites must be classified for a specific party.

And let's not forget that media outlets do not work for peace and the consolidation of women's roles, but it is war media.

When we talk about these roles in local decision-making positions, women are leading a battle alongside the ongoing war in order to have their voice heard. Hence, all efforts must be combined by international and local organizations and all parties.
Most civil society organizations are working in the field of humanitarian relief and have moved away from their real issues.
What are the roles through which we can restore the activation of the role of civil society organizations in order to contribute to the presence of women in the local authority?

What has the National Committee for Women presented today, and what role can it play today on the ground?
A national plan to implement Resolution 1325 has not yet been seen, because the committee has not fulfilled its roles on the ground.

Ms. Shafiqa Ali Ahmed: Women will not be able to reach any elections in any field, whether local councils or the parliament, except through parties. Therefore, the law must be strong enough to oblige parties to push for the representation of women by at least 30% as stipulated in the outcomes of the national dialogue.

We also know that the independent candidate, even if he is a man, finds difficulties because there is no party to support him, how is the situation of women?
Here, it should be noted the importance of selecting models and competencies representing women in the parties.

Anda Hassan: I believe that empowering women in the local authority is from a partisan standpoint. They must belong to a political party.

And that it belongs to a tribe, given that the governorate of Abyan is a tribal division, if the director is from the Kazmi tribe, then the deputy is from the Al-Fadhli tribe, and so on. Women are viewed from a partisan and regional perspective, and finally the main conditions for their appointment from local councils demand ideal standards and criteria, while in the case of men being appointed to any positions, they do not demand the application of these standards, and ignore the principle of competence, experience and specialization. This is in order to create obstacles and challenges in front of enabling them to hold these positions and decision-making positions.

There are also nominations and decisions that appear for women in the local authority, but these decisions disappear and sometimes are canceled, as some voices appear denouncing the lack of women's entitlement to these appointments or nominations. One of the obstacles in empowering women to take decision-making positions is the failure to activate the National Women's Committee for its work.

Beygim Al-Azani: In terms of getting involved in political parties because it represents the path for women's political participation, what did the parties do for women in their parties to reach decision-making positions?

There must be a strong political will, in addition to laws that oblige parties to support and empower women in decision-making positions. Given the size of the meetings, seminars, and advocacy campaigns carried out by women to support the representation of women in decision-making positions, the formation of the government was shocking to all these efforts, and women were not accredited in it.

Rana Ghanem: With regard to the role of civil society organizations, how can their role be activated, given the state's current situation while it is at war, in the past, factors were helpful to the existence of elections and the establishment of studies and research related to women's issues directly and in qualitative fields

The last elections were in 2001-2006, but today the situation is different, and it is normal to see civil society organizations working to alleviate poverty and famine and relief. It is difficult for women to come and talk about the imbalances in the law and the amendments that have occurred in it with regard to the law of local councils. What is the mechanism of law analysis and where is this done?

At a time of wars and conflicts, agendas, interests, and roles change, so we do not want to burden civil society organizations and parties with carrying out tasks that are not commensurate with the current situation.

Also, civil society organizations often work according to the donor's agenda, and from here the blame should be directed to the donors - are there projects to qualify women in executive offices and others in the field of federalism that will be the localities, which are the basic foundation of the federalism.

International organizations can play an important role with political parties, and I can say that political parties are in their worst position today. The war dispersed the parties and the societal system. The party that was able to maintain its cohesion under these conditions considered it strong. The real roles of the parties are absent today, and far from the political decision.

In the pre-war period, the percentage of women who won were from political parties in 2001, and the percentage of women who won in the 2006 elections did not differ. But when we see the percentage presented by the Congress Party in the 2001 elections (29) women are few compared to the number of men nominated by the same party in the same period of time. The percentage of the Socialist Party in its nomination of women to the localities is 2.5 compared to those who nominated them among men in general.

Here comes the answer to what did the parties do for women? The parties did nothing for women, and when we invite women to join the parties in order to be effective, they break into the parties and do not leave the monopoly of men, and they struggle for their actual roles. The participation of women in large numbers qualifies them to sweep the field in decision-making positions at the party level.

Aida: The National Women’s Committee, and I am the coordinator of the committee in Lahj governorate, had an effective role before the war, the main center of the committee is in Sana’a, and now it is difficult to communicate in the liberated areas “the legitimate government areas”
There was room for exchanging information and everything, and now the role of the National Committee is very weak.

Now an office for the National Committee has been opened in Aden and is in the process of activating the role of the National Committee for Women, and we need to open branches of the Committee in the governorates and approve the operational budget.

For example, in Lahj governorate, the majority of women belong to the parties, and because of the war, we have been marginalized. The women in the GPC have no work on the ground, and since I am the committee coordinator in Lahj and belong to the GPC, any work I do will be seen as following the political agenda of the same party. Hence, I see that working with organizations is easier than working with parties.

There are decisions that support the presence of women in decision-making positions, so work must be done to activate them, because they have been marginalized in the inclusion of the governorates and are among the outcomes of the national dialogue with the representation of women by 30% and youth 20% at the career level, and the introduction of the system of promotions in the job "job empowerment".
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