In the media

Logo SAVE - Sisters against violent extremism

16. December 2011

Yemen Edit and Bilqis ©Women without Borders

Dr. Edit Schlaffer and Dr. Bilqis Jubari

Recognition of the Contributions of Women Has Grown, 15.12.2011

“Recognition of the Contributions of Women Has Grown” 

“If fundamentalists come to power, we will regress by 100 years.” – Women without Borders invited Bilqis Jubari and Mohammed Al Maitami to Vienna., 15.12.2011 

Vienna – The transition phase in Yemen should be completed in about two years: “I fear the upcoming elections,” said the Yemeni professor Bilqis Jubari during a press conference in Vienna Thursday morning. With regard to the situation of women in Yemen, she said: “if fundamentalists come to power, we will regress 100 years.” The Yemeni economist Mohammed Al Maitami reinforced her point: “we need international support now.” 

Jubari, a psychologist and head of the Family Counseling and Development Foundation, believes that the societal position of women in Yemen will continue to improve over the next two years. This could suddenly change after the election two years from now should Islamists gain enough votes. 

Women played a significant role 

Jubari says that women played a “significant” role in the Yemeni protest movement. “We women took part in the demonstrations; some slept at ‘Change Square’ with their children. Many women are involved with human rights organizations or were translators, and thereby served as a source of information for the international press,” she says. “The positive aspect is that recognition for women’s contributions in general has grown.” 

Jubari believes that the number of Yemeni women who veil has increased over the past 15 to 20 years. “Far fewer women covered their faces before; today, the majority of women do.” Of the one hundred female students she teaches at Sana’a University, only about four do not cover their faces – including Jubari herself. “When I ask them why they veil, they say that it makes them feel more comfortable.” Verbal harassment on the street is unfortunately commonplace. She could not say whether she believed that this would ever change. 

International support 

Al Maitami says that with regard to political developments, a power struggle is currently taking place between democratic and traditional forces. He is calling for international support, so that the Islamic forces do not “hijack” efforts to achieve democracy and to use them for their own purposes. “We have eight thousand NGOs in Yemen, but they have almost no financial support and have very few opportunities to work.” Fundamentalists on the other hand have enormous capital and therefore have greater outreach, warned Al Maitami. 

Per the decision reached by the Gulf Cooperation Council to resolve the political crisis in Yemen, the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, will remain “honorary president” until the elections on February 21. This longstanding ruler finally signed the Gulf States’ plan in late November, after hesitating for months. The plan sets forth that Vice President Abd Rabbo Mansur Hadi will lead the country during the two-year transition period. 

Women without Borders invited Bilqis Jubari and Al Maitami to Vienna. 

Link to article:


« Back to overviewSend a friend Print article