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Cablegate: Mepi Women's Program Graduates Create Success

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SANAA 000710

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR NEA/PI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KDEM YM DEMOCRATIC REFORM HUMAN RIGHTS
SUBJECT: MEPI WOMEN'S PROGRAM GRADUATES CREATE SUCCESS

REF: SECSTATE 48784

1. (U) Summary: Alumnae of MEPI regional programs
immediately put lessons learned to work to advance women's
interests in Yemen. Less than one week after Doha, a female
journalist won a seat on the 12-member board of the Yemeni
Journalists Syndicate using tactics gained in the conference.
Political party women who participated in Doha secured
agreement from the Supreme Committee for Elections and
Referenda (SCER) to establish a Women's Department within the
SCER, an important step in their efforts to reform the
election law to create better conditions for women to run for
office. An Amman alumna held an "Inspiring Women in Law"
conference in Aden 3/13 and plans follow-up work that may be
supported by MEPI Small Grants. End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- ------------
Doha Alumna Elected to Yemeni Journalists Syndicate Board;
Election Commission to Establish Women's Department
--------------------------------------------- ------------

2. (U) Freelance journalist and NGO activist Dhekra Abbas
Shamsan Saeed was elected to the 1000-member Yemeni
Journalists Syndicate (YJS) 12-member board February 24, less
than one week after returning from Doha. She was the only
woman elected to the board, receiving the fifth highest vote
count. She said she believes she won because of the
techniques and skills she learned at Doha, including crafting
a message and communicating effectively. She also credits
the conference with providing the motivation and belief in
herself necessary to run for office.

3. (U) Similar, if less dramatic, success was reported by the
National Democratic Institute (NDI) on behalf of political
party alumnae of Doha. Effective advocacy by several alumnae
and NDI with the SCER resulted in an agreement mid-March to
establish a Women's Department within the SCER, reportedly
the first such department in the region and perhaps the
world. The women are discussing details of the new
department, including its aims, structure, work plan and
criteria for hiring, with the SCER.

---------------------------------------
Amman Alumna Holds Follow-On Conference
on Women and the Law
---------------------------------------

4. (U) Less than one month after returning from Amman, lawyer
Reem Abdullah organized a workshop called "Inspiring Women in
Law" March 13 in the southern port city of Aden to examine
the state of women lawyers and judges in Yemen, given their
long history in the judicial sphere, and develop a plan to
advance their roles. Sponsored under the auspices of the
Governor of Aden, the workshop drew together male and female
judges, lawyers, university professors, NGO activists and
ROYG representatives from the Ministry of Human Rights,
Ministry of Justice and the National Women's Committee. The
participants identified obstacles to women in the law, came
up with specific proposed solutions and developed a work plan
to generate change.

-------
Comment
-------

5. (SBU) These specific results from MEPI regional
programming are heartening for the prospects of advancing
women's participation in Yemen. In a wide-ranging discussion
between MEPI alumnae, NDI representatives and Ambassador at a
DCM-sponsored dinner 3/9, it became clear that the Yemeni
women returned from Doha and Amman motivated and full of
specific ideas to advance women's interests. While NDI will
continue to train and assist the Doha women, Post is
exploring a MEPI Small Grant with Reem Abdullah to support
her efforts on women in the law. End Comment.
HULL

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