I simply love finding and re-posting stories like these. Here is another female trailblazer to grace the pages of Plain Talk.
Republished from Al-Shorfa.com
The first four-star hotel in Yemen to be run by a woman opened in Sanaa in May.
Yemeni female hotelier Anisa Hussein al-Dhabaie, has been instrumental in establishing the style, practices and reputation of Lamar Hotel, said she hopes the hotel, a former residential complex, will help tourism in Yemen.
She also hopes her entrance into the hotel industry as a manager will open the doors wide for other women, she said, as women are capable of holding senior positions in Yemeni society.
Al-Dhabaie spoke with Al-Shorfa about working as a woman in a conservative society.
Al-Shorfa: Who is Anisa al-Dhabaie and why did she choose to work as a hotel manager in a conservative and traditional society?
Anisa Hussein al-Dhabaie: I am Anisa Hussein Mohammed al-Dhabaie from the city of Yafeh [in Lahij province, southern Yemen] and I worked in the public sector for 17 years, first at the Ministry of Oil and after that as director general for monitoring and inspection at the Public Transport Authority. For the last 10 years, I worked as the financial and administrative manager of a residential complex in Sanaa, which later turned into the Lamar Hotel and opened in May.
All of this gave me significant managerial and financial expertise. It was a great opportunity for me, as a Yemeni woman, to take up the position of hotel manager because I was able to enter new work arenas that open the door for other women. I was very happy to do this job and was not afraid of society or how I would be perceived, because my family and husband stand behind me. When there is a new role model for Yemeni women in a certain career position, society affords her a high degree of respect.
Thus, I am doing all I can to develop the hospitality industry in Yemen through managing Lamar Hotel, and I have given its decor a personal touch. I have worked to overcome negative impressions I heard about or experienced in other hotels as a guest in Yemen and abroad.
Al-Shorfa: How would you assess the hotel industry in Yemen?
Al-Dhabaie: I had an unfavourable view of hotels and bad practices there, from surveillance cameras to hygiene and security issues. This prompted me to improve these aspects, for I was determined to create a better reputation for hotels and to develop and preserve this industry.
The hotel sector witnesses a revival whenever tourism picks up, and tourism in Yemen has been hit as a result of events in the country since 2011. In spite of this, the hotel is working at 50% of capacity and things are good here. We have contracts with multinational companies and embassies as well as bookings from guests from Europe and India.
Al-Shorfa: Have you faced any obstacles in your position because you are a woman?
Al-Dhabaie: I have a lot of confidence in myself, so my husband’s and family’s confidence in me is also strong and this confidence is reflected in society. A person places herself wherever she wants, and for this reason I am happy working as a hotel manager because it is not a static and routine job. Every day is a new day of problems, customers and workers.
I think there is no difference between men and women at work as some men wish they could receive a salary and stay at home while others want to prove themselves, and women are the same. If I were given the choice to take my salary and stay at home I would refuse to do so because I want to prove myself and achieve something for myself.
I would like to reiterate that without the co-operation of my family and husband, I would not be able to achieve any success, which is why my success is that of my family and of my community.
Al-Shorfa: How would you assess the situation of women in Yemeni society, particularly when it comes to political participation?
Al-Dhabaie: Women have taken serious steps and risen to senior political positions in the government. They have become ministers and entered parliament, as well as excelled in all career fields. Women have also been effective political participants, whether through elections or defending rights, civil society organisations and other roles, just like men.
Having said that, I still think women have yet to be given the chance to prove themselves even more.Here I would like to mention that women have only attained positions at ministries with limited scopes of work or cabinet seats without portfolios. Women are not given service ministries that concern the majority of citizens, through which they can serve society even more.
Al-Shorfa: Do you aspire to become a minister?
Al-Dhabaie: Yes, and why not if I am capable of that? But I would like to be minister of a service ministry such as education or civil service, which provide services to a larger segment of society. I can guarantee that if such ministries were to be given to women, they would prove themselves and prove to others they are capable of succeeding in any sector and in any position.
Click here to visit the Lamar Hotel
Other trailblazers profiled on Plain Talk
On March 4, 2013 Kenya elected the first Maasai woman to parliament. Peris Pesi Tobiko, a 42-year-old mother of four was elected as a member of Parliament Kajiado East constituency.
Last month I profiled Afghanistan’s first female mayor Azra Jafari. The risks involved with being a female government official in a male dominated culture is real. This month we look at the challenges she faces and how she is overcoming them.
In Afghanistan, women’s liberty from oppression and discrimination is still in its infancy. Roya Mahboob is a pioneer and a trailblazer in a country where women are regarded as property. Roya is where she is now because she refused to go by the norm. She wants to prove to Afghan women that they can do something to change their circumstances.