A large group of women reunited on Monday, August 11, around a table at the Women National Committee (WNC) offices in Sana’a, the technical committee of the government’s Supreme Council for Women Affairs. Their objectives were to discuss a common strategy to defend their demand to reserve 15 percent of Parliament seats for women (“women’s quota”) and to approve a communiqué on the issue of women’s political participation, to serve as a response to the fatwa recently issued by the Vice and Virtue Committee (VVC) against the women’s quota, which they plan to send to all major political figures of the country in the coming days.
Women members of certain political parties, such as the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), the Yemen Socialist Party (YSP) and al-Haqq party, as well as female representatives from various Ministries (e.g. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Endowment and Guidance), together with women who work in the media, discussed the proposed “three political axes” for the WNC’s platform, which later extended to a further debate. These three points relate to the need to activate and coordinate support for women’s political participation in the 2009 Parliamentary elections, the need for implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)—especially Article Four, which recommends temporary affirmative action for women’s political participation until actual gender equality is achieved, and the importance of the role of civil society organizations and media in supporting women’s presence in the political arena.