When Um Ferras realised that there were no leisure places for the women in Yemen to gather comfortably, she started her own cafe with the hope to change people’s attitude towards women-led businesses. What makes the cafe unique is that it is run by a woman only for other women, making it the first all-female cafe in Yemen. She set up The Morning Icon Cafe in April last year, it is located in Marib, Central Yemen.
The founder of the cafe said, “There were no places for women to gather comfortably, no places belonging to the female community: where the team from administration to the youngest employee is female,” She said in an interview to Reuters.
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According to Um Ferras, people with traditional and conservative mindsets believe are not in favour of women working outside the home but she wants to be an example to show others that women can work outside and lead enterprises too.
Wadad, a medical student and cafe customer said that she has benefitted from the cafe’s internet connection, she said, “ There is space for women in general, amid the poor internet network in Marib and the limited available spaces for female students.”
Running a business is not easy in a country that is battered by wars, diseases, and severe economic crises. For Ferras, the biggest difficulty is to maintain quality amid the rising prices and fluctuating economy. She imports most of her coffee and drinks. Um Ferras aspires to create a much larger space for the women community in the future.
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Since the last 13 years, Yemen is ranked last in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, Read more here. In a situation like this, Um Ferras’s initiative will certainly inspire other women to work and lead enterprises in Yemen.
Image Credit: Indian Express
Arunima Sharma is an intern with SheThePeople.TV