Interviews with Men Supporting Women: Hashem Mohammed Abdullah
This interview was conducted with Mr. Hashem Mohammed Abdullah, from Ibb. He strives to empower women at a professional and a family level.

Initially, we would like to thank all of those, who are exerting efforts in this society, to assist and support women, who suffer and struggle to shape the way of their existence, especially under the constant conditions of war. The war exposes women to danger, not only on a personal level, including physical abuse and other kinds of ill treatment. In addition, women are a particular vulnerable group – particularly in the context of armed conflict – and though they are one half of society and present at all domestic levels, as they are mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, and nursemaids. Besides being caretakers, women are also managing their households – in times of prosperity, as well as in times of distress.
In the following part, we will talk about some pioneer feminists and women rights advocates, who have had prominent and impactful roles – not only within their personal lives – but also in the lives of others. Moreover, the below presented feminists have ideas that are rarely discussed now, as the war has strong psychological impacts on our communities. Usually, stories of war suffering and frequent violence and abuse are dominating in public debates.
Finally, we also would like to thank all interviewees for the opportunity to discuss with them at full length, to understand the specific challenges and situations that women are facing in their roles at the individual, family, and community levels.
To begin with, it is necessary to introduce the feminists we are going to talk about. Additionally, the respective woman rights advocate will be asked some questions, to give him the opportunity to express himself.
1-    It is our pleasure to welcome you, Mr. Hashem Mohammed Abdullah al-Najri and thank you for participating in our interview. To start, we would like you to give us some information about yourself. In addition, please give us also some insights into your academic and professional life, that contributed to attain a prominent position in society on the one hand, and distinguished you in the field of architecture in particular?
I am from the Ibb Governorate, Al Qafr District, and I recently graduated from the Faculty of Engineering at the Civil Department. I am not directly involved in women's issues, but I have worked with several local and international organizations in technical, engineering, and gender-sensitive projects, as I am standing in solidarity with women's work.
2-    Regarding your activities in supporting and promoting awareness of women's rights and developing their social mobility, could you state some of your contributions, achievements, or work in this field? At the family level, can you mention some shining examples of how to support women to become role models for others?

At the family level:

From a personal or family point of view, I have no sisters, but I always worked alongside women. It is well known that not many women are working in the field of engineering, and when I decided to get married, I was determined to find a woman, who is also an engineer, to join me in designing and building our future apartment, sharing similar visions and ideas, and working in the same field.
At the community level:
Although my work is in the field of engineering, I am always participating in trainings that help me to develop my skills and abilities to contribute effectively to the improvement of women’s issues. I have worked with many organizations in capacity building of young people in field work and participatory work. I also participated - with international organizations - in many gender-sensitive projects. In fact, many projects do not take into account the privacy of women, especially in rural areas.
3-    From your point of view, what is the appropriate mechanism that men can utilize to support women's empowerment and enhance their interaction and participation on a political, economic, and social level?

Women are already playing a very big role. Although the high illiteracy rate among women, they are confident to work and are fighting to overcome the difficulties and challenges that result from society´s misconceptions. We, as men, firstly need to change our ideas about women, who “cannot work except inside the home”. It is necessary to organize campaigns to promote for the education of women, especially of illiterate women. Moreover, we need to encourage them to continue their studies. Especially after the war experience, it became even more necessary for women to be educated and independent. This step heavily depends on each man, as he must first strive to educate his mother, sister, and daughter and to advocate for their rights and support them. It is also necessary to find supportive means for the women's development and to reinforce them to overcome their various difficulties and challenges.
4-    How can men contribute to supporting the development of innovative solutions to advance gender equality?
First, support from within the home increases women’s courage and strength to demand their rights. In my work, as previously mentioned, we established projects that guarantee gender equality and oblige the state and society to respect women's rights. This applies regardless of their situation, whether they are in a healthy state or whether they suffer from certain conditions that need to be considered.
a-    How can advocacy and joint work between men and women create such policies? What are the tools and mechanisms that are required to get the support from families and society at large?
At the family level:
Dialogue is the most appropriate way to understand the difficulties that women are facing and to reach solutions that help strengthening women's rights. No party can be excluded simply because they do not want to deal with these issues. The policy of repression, shame and misconceptions in Yemeni society must be changed. Women are the main pillar of the family. With their support, we will build an intellectually and morally healthy generation. Without women, it is impossible for this society to be strong.
At the community level:
Now, we have the Yemeni Women Voices platform, which is considered a platform for women and a tool to learn about their issues. Men and women must learn to participate in these issues by exchanging ideas, visions, and knowledge. Through short videos and discussions, we have also countered many misconceptions that must be discussed and clarified in a correct manner instead of concealing or taking them in the wrong way.
b-    How can we strengthen the role of women so that they can get their rights and make their own decisions?
I have said earlier that this can be done when men participate in giving confidence to women, so she feels safe and becomes aware of her ability to overcome these difficulties. She also needs to become aware that her family, especially men, will be her advocates and supporters in all her decisions. In addition, she needs to know that her family gives her the freedom to work and participate in social life, as well as the ability to make decisions on her own. These factors will be determinant for her success and for women´s capability to take over responsibilites in the next phases.

We thank you once again for your time and your insights!
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