The German International Cooperation and gender issues in Yemen

17 September 2015

Gender equality recognized by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fürInternationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH ‘ an international cooperation enterprise for sustainable developmentis consideredas an essential factor for sustainability of development. A gender sensitive approach and the continuous support for equal chances of women and men areexpected from any project implemented by GIZ and they serve as core quality criteria. At the gender day in September, all project managers and international project stafffrom the GIZ Yemen portfolio come together to learn about gender sensitivity in project management. The audience isemployee working for GIZ projects in Yemen (some of them have never been to Yemen before).The purpose of this gender day is to inform and update the participants about the gender situation in Yemen, especially sensitize for gender-specific aspects related to the current conflict and toexchange lessons learnt, approaches and resources about gender-specific activities.

The Gender-Development Research and Studies Center, GDRSC is a center conducting research and consultancy studies in development issues from gender perspectives. Dr. Bilkis Zabara, the Director of the center and Dr. Husnia Alkadri, an academic staff member and ex-director of the GDRSC were requested by the GIZ to deliver a presentation about the impact of the ongoing conflict on both Men and Women in Yemen. The presentation washeld via Skype on the 3rd of September, 2015, forapproximately 45 minutes followed by 30 minutes for open discussions.

Dr. Husnia Alkadri addressed gender in Yemen in general issues and reviewed the situation of women in various fields such as education, work and the status of women in legislation and laws. She then addressed the practical and strategic needs of womenin Yemen, in particular. She spoke about discrimination that is based on gender and how women are affected by a stereotype of people, which lead to their marginalization in employment and other fields. She talked about the level of women empowerment in political participation, economic and decision making in different levels. She also pointed out the impact of conflicts on the above- mentioned issues from gender perspectives, and clarified how the social roles change under conditions of conflict and armed conflict in particular.

Dr.Bilkis Zabara raised the attention to the level ofaccessibility to natural resources asland, agriculture, water and fuel in Yemen during conflicts.She illustrated how thataffects the lives of women and men differently.She indicated that the current conflict has led to the limited access to water due to the near collapse of public water servicesin major cities and the destruction of private wells and the difficulty of operating water pumps on the countryside. She also strived to difficultiesin accessing cooking gas, gasoline and diesel.Women are the most vulnerable to the limited access of natural resources as they are responsible to feed their families. Spending additional hours daily to collect water from far distances and to search for cooking gasor timberhas increased dramatically because of the current conflict. This increases domestic violence, drop out of schools, the household income, health care any many other issues.

At the end of this successful sessionboth, the centerandthe GIZagreed to exchange experiencesat future occasions.