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Research studies

Gender Empowerment in Yemen

Prepared by the researcher –  Dr. Ali Ahmed Alsagaf Professor of Statistics & Econometrics  –University of Aden / Yemen

Democratic Arab Center

Journal of Afro-Asian Studies : Eight issue – February 2021

A Periodical International Journal published by the “Democratic Arab Center” Germany – Berlin. The journal deals with the field of Afro-Asian strategic, political and economic studies

Nationales ISSN-Zentrum für Deutschland
ISSN 2628-6475
Journal of Afro-Asian Studies
:To download the pdf version of the research papers, please visit the following link

Abstract

The Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) seeks to determine the degree to which women and men participate actively in economic, professional and political activity and take part in decision making. The GEM uses variables constructed explicitly to measure the relative empowerment of men and women in political and economic spheres of activity. The GEM calculates inequality between women and men in three main dimensions. These are:

  1. Political participation and decision- making power and measured by women’s and men’s percentage shares of parliamentary seats
  2. Economic participation and decision-making power, measured by women’s and men’s percentage shares of administrative and managerial positions and their percentage shares of professional and technical jobs.
  3. Power over economic resources and measured by earned income for women and men.

This study  used descriptive analysis method and has gone through the issue of empowering the Yemeni woman and analyses the  factors affecting the empowerment of women by economic, social and demographic characteristics through a set of indicators, namely: women’s education, women’s work, and political participation in Yemen

The results of the study reveals that  Yemen  ranked 121 , among 177 countries of the world ,   in terms of the Human Development Index related to gender with  Index ( 0.556). Yemen has a  gender inequality index (GII) value of 0.834, ranking it 162 out of 162 countries in the 2018 index. In Yemen, 0.5 percent of parliamentary seats are held by women, and 19.9 percent of adult women have reached at least a secondary level of education compared to 35.5 percent of their male counterparts.

The education of women without their participation in economic and political decision making activities is a waste of human capital and the removal of a large sector of human power in society and disable it to contribute to the process of economic and social development.

1 . Introduction

The Beijing Platform for Action (1995) is an agenda for women’s empowerment and recognizes the “full implementation of the rights of women and girls as irreversible and integral parts of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” It aims to remove obstacles to women’s active participation in public and private life.[1]

Since 2000, women have had a global commitment against which to measure progress in building answerability to women: the Millennium Declaration and its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Achievement of the MDGs depends increasingly on women benefiting from development investments in education and health, being able to engage in the market on an equal basis with men, and being able to participate in public decision-making at all levels2.

Gender equality and women’s empowerment are central to achieving the other Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Women’s empowerment is not a standalone goal. It is the driver of efforts to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, reduce child and maternal mortality, and fight against major diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria.

Women’s empowerment is also a driver of sound environmental management and is, finally, essential for ensuring that development aid reaches the poorest through making women a part of national poverty reduction, planning and resource allocation.

Population of Yemen was about 28 million for the Year 2018, according to population projections of 2005-2025.  27.3% of the total population lives in cities compared to 73.7% in rural areas. The population is growing at a rate of 3% with a population density of 40 per km squares. The fertility rate is 6.5 children per woman. 75% of the population is under 30 years of age. Males represent 50.9% of total population and females 49.09%. Almost half of the population lives below the poverty line. The population growth rate is one of the highest in the world. Yemen’s population is expected to reach 30.8 million in 2020, and 36.3 million by the Year 2030, putting Yemen ahead of future challenges.

Yemen’s governorates have significant shifts in the proportion of rural and urban population, between Yemen’s 1994 census and 2004’s census and such a shift in urban population growth. The results of the 1994 census indicate that the proportion of urban population was 23.5%, while this percentage rose to reach in 2004 to about 28.64%, which confirms that the rural pattern is prevalent in the Republic of Yemen.

The population of Yemen in 2010 was estimated at 23.2 million, and it is expected that this number will reach 34 million in 2025 (under the alternative medium). Birth rate Declined from 43.16 births per 1000 population in 2004 to 34.37 births per 1000 population in 2010. And the mortality rate continues to decline gradually from 8.78 deaths per 1000 population in 2004 to 7.24 deaths per 1000 population in 2010. It was expected that the percentage of the working age population (15-64 years) would increase from about 50% to 59% of the total population by 2010, which opens Yemen to the opportunity of the so-called demographic window. An important role in development, if properly exploited.

Yemen has the 30th highest fertility rate in the world at 4.45 children per woman, which is largely driven by religious beliefs and a lack of education and reproductive resources.

Female participation in labor force represents one of the main elements in women’s development. But there are still significant gaps facing this participation, whether in developed or developing countries. The economic literature on the determinants of female participation in the labor force is quite extensive. Demographic, socioeconomic and cultural factors play a part in guiding women’s decisions and their level of labor force.

According to the 2013-2014 labor force survey of Yemen, the working- age population (aged +15) was 13.4 million, of which slightly more than one-half (50.8 percent) were men. The labor force participation rate was 36.3 percent. However the rate for men were considerably higher than that for women (65.8 percent men and 6.0 percent for women).

The overall unemployment rate was 13.5 percent, considerably higher among women (26.1 percent) than among men (12.3 percent).

This study  used descriptive analysis method and has gone through the issue of empowering the Yemeni woman . The study  was divided into four parts , where the first part dealt with the introduction . The second part  deals with the concepts and measurements of gender empowerment  . The third part deals with the factors affecting the empowerment of women by economic, social and demographic characteristics through a set of indicators, namely: women’s education, women’s work, and political participation in the Yemen . In the fourth part, Challenges and Opportunities facing  Gender empowerment in Yemen is discussed . And finally the results and the proposals reached by the study  were reviewed through analyzing the data, available from various sources.

  1. Gender Empowerment

Over the last thirty years there have been fundamental changes in policies on and approaches to population, development and gender equality. These are best exemplified in the program of action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, 1994 and the Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW) in Beijing in 1995. The issue of gender and development has found a great importance from researchers all over the world particularly after the international conferences (ICPD & FWCW( .

 The sharp differences between men and women in access to assets and as the opportunities in many developing countries restrict women’s basic freedom to choose and have negative consequences for the well-being of their children, families and communities. These differences entrench inequality and are unfair1. Gender equality does not necessary mean equality of outcomes for males and females; it means equal access to the “opportunities that allow people to pursue a life of their own choosing and to avoid extreme deprivations in outcomes” – that is [2]gender equality in rights, and voice. Equality of rights refers to equality under the law, whether customary or statutory. Equality of resources refers to equality of opportunity, including equality of access to human capital, investments and other productive resources and to markets.. Equality of voice captures the ability to influence and contribute to the political discourse and the development process.

The roots of the discourse namely gender and development lie in debates about women and development (WID) in the early 1970s .WID is associated with development projects aimed at women only, especially income –generation projects. Such projects have been criticized for playing down the importance of welfare and ignoring the complexities of gendered distributions of resources within households. These critiques were the starting points for the discourse characterized as gender and development (GAD), which have gained momentum since 1980s.Gender analysis is a widely used GAD framework and identifies differences between men and women in productive work and access to resources and decision making.

2.1.  Gender Empowerment , Concepts and Measurements 

The United Nations Development Program’s  (UNDP) Human Development report for 1995 focused on gender disparities in development . The report constructed the gender –related development index (GDI) for 130 countries . The GDI owes its origin to its precursor human development index (HDI) . The HDI comprises three main components , viz., per capita income , educational attainment and life expectancy which is proxy for health attainment . The same indicators are used in the construction of the GDI as well , the implication being that it is  deprivation in these three components that is important from the point of view of gender disparities

2.1.1. Gender Empowerment Measure

The Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) developed in the UNDPs, HDR (1995), seeks to determine the degree to which women and men participate actively in economic, professional and political activity and take part in decision making. The GEM uses variables constructed explicitly to measure the relative empowerment of men and women in political and economic spheres of activity. The GEM calculates inequality between women and men in three main dimensions. These are:

  1. 1. Political participation and decision- making power and measured by women’s and men’s percentage shares of parliamentary seats.
  2. Economic participation and decision-making power, measured by women’s and men’s percentage shares of administrative and managerial positions and their percentage shares of professional and technical jobs. 3. Power over economic resources and measured by earned income for women and men.

The three indices for economic participation and decision-making, political participation and decision-making, and power over economic resources – are added together with equal   weight to derive the final GEM value.

 The 1995 HDR estimates GEM for 116 countries of the world and notes that only nine  countries have GEM values above 0.60, while 24 countries have values below 0.25. The report correctly states that many countries have much further to travel in extending broad economic and political opportunities to women than they have in building their capabilities. In 2017 Yemen was placed at the bottom of the Gender Gap Index 2017 (144 out of 144 countries)1.[3]

2.1.2. Gender Inequality Index 

The new Gender Inequality Index (GII) reflects women’s disadvantages in three dimensions – reproductive  health, empowerment, and economic activity. Reproductive health is measured by maternal mortality and adolescent fertility rates. Empowerment is measured by the share of parliamentary seats held by each gender and attainment at secondary and higher education by each gender; and economic activity is measured by the labor market participation rate for each gender. The GII replaces the previous Gender-related Development Index (GDI) and Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM). The GII shows the loss in human [4]development due to inequality between female and male achievements in the three GII dimensions. These are health, empowerment and labor market.

Yemen has a GII value of 0.834, ranking it 162 out of 162 countries in the 2018 index. In Yemen, 0.5 percent of parliamentary seats are held by women, and 19.9 percent of adult women have reached at least a secondary level of education compared to 35.5 percent of their male counterparts1

  1. Gender Empowerment in Yemen

The role that women can play in the development process depends mainly on the type of services available to them, which helps them to develop their social, economic and political conditions and raise their level f participation in the development process through the standards that underpin human development, including indicators related to education, employment and political participation .

3.1.   Education and Female

 Yemeni women continue to live in underdeveloped conditions governed by traditional values ​​in society, leading to a persistent gap between the numbers of males and females enrolled in education. Despite the State’s interest in providing educational services through government policies and strategies that give special attention to girls’ education and spending nearly one-fifth of the annual budget on education and its interest in integrating gender in the educational process, a number of social, economic and cultural factors have continued to impose themselves and prevent an educational renaissance. Rapidly meet the needs of human development, which provided a gap in education . The gap is illustrated by the following indicators:

There is a large gap between males and females in terms of illiteracy, where the rate of illiteracy in Yemen among females to 7 illiterate females out of 10 females aged 15 years and older, compared to 3 males out of 10 males.

In basic education, data and statistics indicate that the enrollment rate of males was 94% while the enrollment rate for females was about 74%, there is a gap in the gross enrollment rates in favor of males. Female dropout rates in primary school are about 24%, and the rate is higher in advanced levels of basic education in cities and more in rural areas.

As for secondary education, the participation rate of females reached 35.2% in 2013, which means that females represent only one third of those enrolled in this stage, and the chances of girls in secondary school diminish as they move up the educational level.

With regard to technical and vocational education, the percentage of female enrollment is about 13.2% of the proportion of male enrollment in 2013. Technical education is usually seen as the prerogative of males and hence there is no future for females in it. The inclusion of women in vocational education gives them the right to choose their roles and diversity of roles, and contributes to their economic empowerment and their contribution to the labor market to meet the needs of the labor market.

With regard to university education, the data indicate that the percentage of female enrollment in university education reaches 28% of the total enrollment. Not only does the disparity in the number of enrollments of both sexes, but also in the type of specialization, as the trend of girls to literary, human and social studies is still a trend supported by the family and supported by society. The cultural and social heritage in Yemeni society is one of the most important factors that hinder the reality of women and the level of exercise of women’s rights in general. This pattern has devoted concepts that underestimate women and the importance of their role in society.

According to the 2005-2006 Family Budget Survey, the illiteracy rate among women was 60% and 21.3% among males. The gap between women and men was 38.7 %. High illiteracy among females is due to the poorest and early marriages, as well as the lack of schools for girls, especially in rural areas.(Table1)

Table( 1 ) Illiteracy gap between males and females (1994-2006)

Year Female illiteracy rate Male illiteracy rate The Gap between females & males
1994 census 76.3 36.7 39.6
2004 census 62.1 29.8 32.3
2005-2006 Family budget survey 60.0 21.3 38.7

Central statistical organization , Statistical Year Books ,1994/2004/2006

 From the table (2), it is clear that the general picture reflects the increasing number of female students in the basic education , but the gap between female education and male education continues.

Table(2) Percentage distribution of enrolled students in basic education by gender

Schooling Year 2001-2002

(%)

2002-2003

(%)

2003-2004

(%)

2008-2009

(%)

2009-2010

(%)

Male 63 61.3 61 57.9 57.1
Female 37 38.7 39 42.1 42.9

Source : Yemen , Ministry of education,  2010

The above mentioned  educational indicators confirm the low educational level of the  girl in the various stages of basic, secondary and university education and the widening of the gap between males and females. This requires intensifying the role of the government and civil society organizations in empowering Yemeni women with advanced education, raising awareness of the importance of girls’ education, especially in rural areas, conducting research on the causes of dropping out of basic education from a gender perspective, advocacy and building alliances against early  marriage to reduce dropout.

3.2.  Female Labor force Participation

Although women represent half of the population in Yemen, the percentage of female employees in the total labor force does not exceed 20%, and most of them are concentrated with a high percentage in the agricultural profession (37%). This reflects the rural nature of Yemeni society. The presence of urban women in the government sector is more concentrated than the private and mixed sectors due to the following reasons:

First, the government sector provides favorable working conditions for women, especially with regard to childcare leave, making women more able to reconcile their work outside the home with family responsibilities. Second, the government sector includes most of the professions that women accept, especially teaching.

The proportion of men outside the labor force (34.6%) of the total men (15+) and women 94% of the total women (15+) .The gender gap between women and men outside the labor force was about (272%), and the equivalence index was about (172) women outside the labor force. That is, for every 100 men outside the labor force, about 272 women .(Table3)

Table (3) Percentage distribution of population (15+) by gender & relation to labor force (2014)

Population Male(%) Female (%)
In labor force 65.4 6.0
Out of labor force 34.6 94.0
Total 100 100
6808000 6570000

Yemen , CSO , Labor Force Survey 2013-2014

Despite the Government’s relatively successful efforts with regard to women’s participation in economic activity and economic empowerment, there are a number of difficulties to women’s effective participation in economic activity. The most important of these difficulties are customs, traditions, and social taboos, lack of employment opportunities for women and working conditions that are not commensurate with the abilities of women. It requires the State to give special attention to the economic empowerment of women through the adoption of programs to enhance the role of women in community development, the economic empowerment of rural women and the rehabilitation and training of women in small and income-generating enterprises.

3.3.  Female Political Participation

The political participation of Yemeni women was weak during the parliamentary elections held in 1993, 1997 and 2003. Compared to the size of women in society on the one hand and their size as voters and a large voting power and influential in the electoral science on the other hand .The number of male participants in parliamentary elections decreased from 3124 participants in 1993 elections to 1292 participants in 1997 elections and raised to 1385 in 2003 elections . The number of female participants for the same period was 42 , 19 and 11 participants respectively and consequently the percentages of female participants was 18% , 28% and 11 in 1993 , 1997 and 2003 respectively . Percentages of female candidates was 1.3% in 1993 elections compared with male candidates which reached 98.7% . In 2003 elections the percentage of female candidates was 0.08%. with The number of female winners in the elections was 2 females in 1993 out of 301 parliamentary candidates   and 2 females in 1997 elections and only one female candidate won in 2003 parliamentary elections (Table 4)

Table(4) Female participation in the parliamentary election 1993/1997/2003

Number of female winner Female ratio Male candidates Women candidates % females Total Female Male Election
2 1.3% 3124 42 18 2688 478 2210 1993
2 1.5% 1292 19 28 4668 1305 3365 1997
1 0.8% 1385 11 42 8097 3415 4683 2003

Source : Yemen Human Development report 2006

The low participation of women in the elections is not limited to the parliamentary elections only, but is part of the low participation of women in public life such as political parties, civil society organizations and senior leadership positions in the state. The percentage of women in the leadership bodies of political parties in Yemen did not exceed 6.8% in 2005and 9.9% in 2010.

Women are still underrepresented at the executive and ministerial levels. Figures and ratios indicate the large gap between women and men in decision-making positions. There is a great contradiction between what the state declares through its programs and what is being implemented on the ground. This confirms the low participation of women in the political sphere and their participation in decision-making. This is due to a number of cultural, social and political obstacles that stand in the way of the political, economic and cultural participation and empowerment of Yemeni woman .

Although Yemeni legislations  and laws do not prevent women from being in leadership and decision-making centers, Yemeni society continues to divide roles according to gender. Official indicators also indicate the level of presence of women in political and executive  organs and the existence of a gap between men and women in decision-making positions.

According to 2006 Yemen Human Development Report , percentage of female representatives in the Yemeni parliament was 0.3% and 99.7% for males . 1.8% of female representatives in the Shura council and 98.2% for males. 6.1% of females in the cabinet and 93.9% for males . As far as general managers is concerned , percentage of females was 3.6% and 96.4% for males. (Table 5)

Table( 5) Female representativeness  at the executive and ministerial levels (2007)

Gov. job level Female

No                 %

Male

No                    %

Parliament 1                  0.3 300                99.7
Shura  council 2                  1.8 109                98.2
Local Council 37                0.5 7000              95.5
Cabinet 2                   6.1 31                   93.9
General Managers 186               3.6 4971              96.4

Source : Source : Yemen Human Development report 200

The 2006 Yemen Human Development Report also revealed females representatives in the diplomatic level . 88% of the representatives was males compared with  1.14% females . Female delegate ministers was 6.56% and 8.2% female consultant . ( Table 6)

Table (6) Female representatives in Diplomatic level

Jobs Male Female Female ratio (%)
Ambassador 88 1 1.14
Delegate minister 61 4 6.56
Consultant 134 11 8.21
First Secretary 74 3 4.05
Second secretary 48 6 12.5
Third  Secretary 60 6 10
Diplomatic Attaché 19 9 47.4
Administrative attaché 230 32 13.9
Total 714 72 10.08

Source : Yemen Human Development report 2006

In extrapolating the above indicators, it is clear that the level of representation of women in decision-making positions is still low, as it is clear that there is a gap between men and women in the higher administrative bodies and the indicators also revealed the low level of women representation in the parliament and shura council .

  • . Gender Empowerment Status in Yemen

Data from the 2013 Yemen Human Development Report indicates that Yemen  ranked 121 , among 177 countries of the world ,   in terms of the Human Development Index related to gender with  Index ( 0.556). Gender-related human development index consists of  life expectancy at birth, literacy rate, enrollment ratio in secondary education and per capita gross domestic  product (GDP) . Life expectancy at birth in Yemen for males was 64 years compared to 62 years for females. The enrollment rate in secondary education was 81% and 70% for male and female students. The per capita gross domestic product was $ 1993 for males compared to $ 462 for females . Gender-related HDI as it approaches to the unity  , the higher the equality between men and women and the higher empowerment of women.(Table 7 )

Table (7) Gender related development index for Yemen

Rank GDI

Related Development Index

LEB

M            F

Literacy Rate

M             F

Enrolment Secondary School (%)

M            F

GDP per capita

M             F

121 0.496 61           63 68            37 60           45 1944   537

Source : Yemen Human Development Report 2013

Table No.8 reflects a clear picture of the level of empowerment of  woman in the disposition of the financial returns  obtained by the husband and at the same time the education and cultural levels of Yemeni society    . 5.8% of the  women  dispose of the proceeds obtained by the husband on their own,  37.5% of them stated that they dispose of the husband’s returns  in partnership with the husband, and the husband disposes 52.8 %   (alone)  of his financial returns .

Table (8) disposition of the financial returns  earned by the husband (2014)

Wife Wife & Husband Husband Other Not Known Total
6.6 37.5 52.8 2.9 0.2 100

Source : Yemen, Demographic and health survey 2013

Table (9)  shows that the wife is the one who takes the decision on her treatment with a percentage of  9.4%  . With regard to the participation of the woman in taking the decision of basic purchases for the family registered as 8.4 % as it was decided on her own, which are two low percentages that refer to low gender empowerment . With regard to basic family purchases, they share 45% of the decisions regarding the wife’s health care. And  41.6 % with regard  to basic family purchases. The table data indicate that the husband takes 42.2% of the decisions alone  with regards of health care of the wife , and 43% with regard to basic family purchases. Although health care for the wife and basic family purchases are two family matters, women are supposed to have a greater role in their decision-making, but it is noticed that the level of empowerment of women in them is still low.

Table(  9 )Women’s Participation in making some decisions 

Decision Wife Wife & Husband Husband Other person Not Known  Total
Health care for the wife 9.4 45.2 42.2 3.1 0.2 100.0
Main purchases for the family 8.4 41.6 43.5 6.3 0.2 100.0

Source : Yemen, Demographic and health survey 2013

Table (10 ) shows the level of empowerment of the  woman in  Yemen  , measured  by the mean value and the data contained in it are of great importance as it gives a clear picture of the level of empowerment of the woman. The low level of this indicator indicates the low level of social structure, customs and traditions. The value for Yemen  registered 6.35

Table (10) Gender Empowerment Measure  (2013)

Mean No. of Females Percentage

(%)

Standard deviation
6.53 136368 3.7 5.209

Source : Yemen, Demographic and health survey 2013

  1. Challenges and Opportunities facing Gender empowerment in Yemen
  1. 1. Challenges facing gender empowerment

The main challenges facing gender equality and women’s empowerment in Yemeni cities  are as following :

  1. Women’s participation and leadership in the public sphere is low: the 2014 gender gap index ranked women’s economic participation and political empowerment in Yemen as 138 out of 142 countries. Yemeni women recorded low levels of participation in formal paid employment.
  2. High rates of violence against women and girls, including forced and early marriages, were reported.
  3. Structural inequality hinders women’s and girls’ access to basic services, leading to a significant gender gap in literacy and basic education, and high maternal mortality rates.
  4. Both formal and informal justice systems discriminate against women in many aspects, contrary to Yemen’s obligations to international conventions such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
  5. The 30 percent quota for women was particularly controversial in the NDC, with some factions preferring a lower quota of 15 percent and others opposing it all together.  Moreover, the NDC recommendations are just that — recommendations — so there is no guarantee that all the provisions will make it into the new constitution.  Even if the quota is codified into law, there is no guarantee it will be implemented
  6. The NDC’s recommendation to set the age of marriage for boys and girls at eighteen will also be challenging to make a reality. Yemen has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world and an estimated at 52% of girls in Yemen are married before the age of eighteen, and 14 percent before age fifteen.
  7. The education of women without their participation in economic activity is a waste of human capital and the removal of a large sector of human power in society and disable it to contribute to the process of economic and social development. Even if women have the opportunity to participate economically, social taboos stand in the way of women’s participation in the development process because of the state of the male society and its sovereignty.
  8. Social customs and traditions that limit the contribution of women in some economic activities, for example, women do not work in the field of construction.
  9. Early marriage among women, which significantly hinders the entry into the labor market, especially after childbirth, to devote full time to domestic work and raising children
  10. There is an important problem that worries many workers, which is the fear of spinsterhood, due to the inadequate perception of those who work, which is still to this day, although it has subsided in the present day.
  11. Structural barriers: For example, women may face legal challenges in registering to vote if they are unable to secure copies of the required identity documents. Women face economic obstacles such as participation in politics, particularly running for elections that require funding. Women often lack economic security and / or independence. As mentioned above, women are more likely to be illiterate and therefore not eligible to participate in politics.
  12. Social, cultural, and religious barriers: For example, given the way gender roles are defined in many societies, women may be excluded from the formal and informal networks needed to advance policy. The prevailing notions of politics may be that it is a dirty work that suits only men. Some may be tempted to use religion as an excuse to suggest that one particular religion does not allow women to participate in politics.
  13. Time and place: Women have multiple responsibilities as wives, mothers and often have no free time. Women may not control their mobility because of their family responsibilities, which force them to stay at home longer, lack access to areas where men gather to engage in political debates, and lack access to transport. Women in a more conservative environment may not be able to travel without a mahram.
  14. Safety: Women may be afraid for their safety. They may be threatened because of their political beliefs or face a greater risk when traveling to participate in political events.
  15. Lack of confidence: Perhaps the most important obstacle faced by women is the lack of confidence in their leadership capabilities.

4.2.  Opportunities of Gender empowerment of Yemeni women

  1. Aside from providing aid and support to others during the war, Yemeni women are empowered through maintaining their own businesses and developing better leadership skills, which are two of the goals partner for democratic change . Though the country emphasizes the importance of equality among the genders, there are still cultural attitudes and patriarchal structures that cause barriers for women in Yemen. Partners for Democratic Change has worked to tackle these barriers by changing people’s attitudes and by educating women. The organization has advanced woman’s empowerment  in Yemen by training 75 women in business and leadership so far.
  2. Aside from Partners in Change, there are many other groups that have been established with the purpose of advancing women’s rights, such as the Supreme Council for Women and the National Commission for Women. Furthermore, the National Dialogue Conference (NDC), which took place from March of 2013 to January of 2014, occurred so as to begin a discussion about women in elected positions in Yemen.
  3. The percent of women that made up the membership at this conference was 27 percent. During the NDC, those in attendance agreed upon the idea that, from then on, the amount of women in elected council should be no less than 30 percent. Though there is still progress to be made in regards to women’s empowerment in Yemen, the country has taken steps in the right direction through the various organizations and councils that it has established for advancing women in society. In addition, though the ongoing conflict in Yemen has been a source of turmoil for the country’s women, it has also caused them to feel empowered by providing them with opportunities to help others and contribute to rebuilding efforts.
  4. As far as Women’s political participation is concerned, Yemen  is obliged to represent women so that they can participate effectively in the bodies and authorities of the state and elected and appointed councils by at least 30%.
  5. Citizens, both men and women, have the right to participate in politics by running for office and elections in the presidential, parliamentary, local, and referendum elections.
  6. Political components are obliged to arrange their electoral lists to ensure that at least 30% of women have access to the electoral councils.
  7. Criminalizing all types and forms of violence against women.
  8. Protection of Motherhood and Childhood :
    1. The State’s commitment to develop strategies for the protection of motherhood and childhood.
    2. Consider reproduction as a social function that is the responsibility of parents and state institutions. Extend the age of childhood up to 18 years.
    3. Criminalize the marriage of minors and consider the minimum age of marriage to be 18 years for both sexes.
  1. Establish specialized courts to deal with family affairs and personal status cases and regulate their form, jurisdiction and procedures to be followed by a special law.
  2. Criminalization of assault on physical integrity, sexual harassment and exploitation of women in commercial advertisements in a manner that offends their dignity and trafficking.
  3. Women working in any State institution shall be entitled to voluntary retirement upon reaching 25 years of service.
  4. The State shall abide by all the provisions of the human rights conventions ratified by the State in accordance with the Constitution.

5.Conclusions and Recommendations

5.1 : Conclusions

Population of Yemen was  about 28 million for the Year 2018 ,  according to population projections 2005-2025. 27.3% of the population live in cities compared to 73.7% in rural areas. The population of Yemen is growing at a rate of 3%. The population growth rate is one of the highest in the world. Yemen’s population is expected to reach 30.8 million in 2020, and 36.3 million by the Year 2030, putting Yemen ahead of future challenges.

According to the 2013-2014 labor force survey of Yemen , the working- age population (aged +15) was 13.4 million , of which slightly more than one-half (50.8 percent ) were men . The labor force participation rate was 36.3 percent . However the rate for men were considerably higher than that for women ( 65.8 percent men and 6.0 percent for women ) .

The overall unemployment rate was 13.5 percent , considerably higher among women (26.1 percent ) than among men (12.3 percent) . The youth unemployment rate at 24.5 percent was almost twice the national average , though young people experienced relatively shorter spells unemployment than adults.

According to the 2005-2006 Family Budget Survey, the illiteracy rate among women was 60% and 21.3% among males. The gap between women and men was 38.7 %. High illiteracy among females is due to the poorest and early marriages, as well as the lack of schools for girls, especially in rural areas.

There is a large gap between males and females in terms of illiteracy, where the rate of illiteracy in Yemen among females to 7 illiterate females out of 10 females aged 15 years and older, compared to 3 males out of 10 males.

In basic education, data and statistics indicate that the enrollment rate of males was 94% while the enrollment rate for females was about 74%, there is a gap in the gross enrollment rates in favor of males. Female dropout rates in primary school are about 24%, and the rate is higher in advanced levels of basic education in cities and more in rural areas.

As for secondary education, the participation rate of females reached 35.2% in 2013, which means that females represent only one third of those enrolled in this stage, and the chances of girls in secondary school diminish as they move up the educational ladder.

With regard to university education, the data indicate that the percentage of female enrollment in university education reaches 28% of the total enrollment. Not only does the disparity in the number of enrollments of both sexes, but also in the type of specialization, as the trend of girls to literary, human and social studies is still a trend supported by the family and supported by society. The cultural and social heritage in Yemeni society is one of the most important factors that hinder the reality of women and the level of exercise of women’s rights in general. This pattern has devoted concepts that underestimate women and the importance of their role in society.

The political participation of Yemeni women was weak during the parliamentary elections held in 1993, 1997 and 2003. Compared to the size of women in society on the one hand and their size as voters and a large voting power and influential in the electoral science on the other hand . The number of male participants in parliamentary elections decreased from 3124 participants in 1993 elections to 1292 participants in 1997 elections and raised to 1385 in 2003 elections . The number of female participants for the same period was 42 , 19 and 11 participants respectively and consequently the percentages of female participants was 18% , 28% and 11 in 1993 , 1997 and 2003 respectively . Percentages of female candidates was 1.3% in 1993 elections compared with male candidates which reached 98.7%  In 2003 elections the percentage of female candidates winners  was 0.08%. with The number of female winners in the elections was 2 females in 1993 out of 301 parliamentary candidates   and 2 females in 1997 elections and only one female candidate won in 2003 parliamentary elections.

The National Dialogue Conference (NDC), which took place from March of 2013 to January of 2014, occurred so as to begin a discussion about women in elected positions in Yemen.The percent of women that made up the membership at this conference was 27 percent. During the NDC, those in attendance agreed upon the idea that, from then on, the amount of women in elected council should be no less than 30 percent.  Though there is still progress to be made in regards to women’s empowerment in Yemen, the country has taken steps in the right direction through the various organizations and councils that it has established for advancing women in society. In addition, though the ongoing conflict in Yemen has been a source of turmoil for the country’s women, it has also caused them to feel empowered by providing them with opportunities to help others and contribute to rebuilding efforts.

            As far as Women’s political participation is Concerned Yemen  is obliged to represent women so that they can participate effectively in the bodies and authorities of the state and elected and appointed councils by at least 30%.

5.2 Recommendations

Based on the results of the study , the following recommendations are made :

  1. The study suggests the need for comprehensive and organized policy towards female education , by emphasizing illiteracy reduction among females and introducing equal opportunity between males and females in enrollment in basic and secondary and university education .  The illiteracy rate among women is 65 per cent, compared to 27 per cent among men for the year 2015 . Adopting  an educational policy that reduces female illiteracy from 65% in 2015 to 30% by 2030. The National Basic Education Strategy 2003-2015 aimed  to increase enrollment rates for basic education in rural areas  for children aged 6-14 years to 95% by 2015. The report suggests to reach  this target  by the year 2030.
  2. A Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 2.1 represents the Replacement-Level of Fertility: the average number of children per woman needed for each generation to exactly replace it without needing international immigration. TFR for Yemen to be reduced from 3.8 births per woman in 2020 to 2.1 in 2030 .
  3. The prominent representation of youth in the population structure will require efforts to empower youth as well as develop youth-oriented policies. Within the context of high adolescent fertility, high maternal mortality and a high prevalence of gender-based violence, the needs of young women require special attention. The youth revolution that started in January 2011 gives an indication of the frustrations of the youth and their cry for change. For the program this is an opportunity to engage the youth in socioeconomic and political decision making .
  4. Female economic participation is the important factor in gender empowerment . The report noticed that ,According to the 2013-2014 labor force survey of Yemen ,the labor force participation rate was 36.3 percent . However the rate for men were considerably higher than that for women ( 65.8 percent men and 6.0 percent for women ).The overall unemployment rate was 13.5 percent , considerably higher among women (26.1 percent ) than among men (12.3 percent) . The youth unemployment rate at 24.5 percent . The report suggests to increase the labor force participation rate for women to 30 % by the year 2030 and narrowing the gap between men and women . As a result to decrease unemployment rate among female to 6% by the year 2030 and among the youth by 50% to be 12% in the Year 2030.
  5. The 30 percent quota for women was particularly controversial in the NDC, with some factions preferring a lower quota of 15 percent and others opposing it all together. Moreover, the NDC recommendations are just that — recommendations — so there is a need to adopt the output of the conference by the year 2030 to reach the target of 30% quota for women in the parliament and in different levels of executive bodies of the country .
  6. Female mean age at marriage is one of the proximate determinates of fertility and having the direct effect on female education and female labor force participation . There is a need for issuance of low forbidding early marriage and defining the legal age of marriage ( e.g. 18 years for males and females ) according to the outputs of national dialogue conference in 2013 .
  7. Family planning program me plays a vital role in informing the people about the alternative methods open to them to regulate their family size. Family planning services should be made available to the people and services have greater relevance and effectiveness if made an integral part of medical and public health services especially of maternal and child health program . Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data from 2013 found that 29% of married women in Yemen were using a modern methods of family planning with a large difference between women in rural areas (24%) and women in urban areas (40% ) In this regard there is a need to increase contraceptive use rate from 29% in 2015 to 40% by the year 2030 . and narrowing the differences between urban and rural areas.
  8. The improvement and expansion of public services , such as drinking water , electricity and transportation etc. particularly in rural areas and reduction in rural-urban disparities in the country

References 

  1. Earth Negotiations Bulletin (1995) , Summary of the Fourth world Conference on Women , 4-15 September 1995 , International Institute for Sustainable Development , Vol.14 , No.21
  2. The Arab League(2005) , The Unified Arab Economic Report , 2004 .
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  5. United Nations (2017) UNDP’s Youth strategy 2014-2017 , library , dam, https ://WWW.undp.org.
  6. …………(2017) UNDP’s “Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017” , library , dam, https ://WWW.undp.org.
  7. …………(2018) UNDP’s “Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2021 ” , library , dam, https ://WWW.undp.org.
  8. …………(2016) UNDP  Youth global program for sustainable development and Peace  (2016-2020 ) , Youth , https://WWW.undp.org
  9. ………….(1995) United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) Human Development report for 1995
  10. Yemen ,Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation , Central Statistical Organization ,Population projections of Yemen 2005-2025. 2006 .
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  12. …………(2006) Central Statistical Organization, Results of 2004 census , Sana’a ,2006 .
  13. …………(2002) Central Statistical Organization, Yemen Human Development Report 2000/2001
  14. ………….(2005) Central Statistical Organization, Yemen Human Development Report 2004.
  15. …………..(2005) Ministry of Health and Population & Central Statistical Organization , Yemen Family Health Survey , 2005
  16. ………..(2014)Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation , Central Statistical Organization, Labor Force Survey of Yemen , 2013-2014
  17. …….(2010) ,Central Statistical organization (CSO) statistical Yearbooks 2001-2010
  18. …………(2019) Ministry of planning and international cooperation Yemen , Central Statistical organization (CSO) statistical Yearbooks 2005-2019
  19. …….(2014)Ministry of Transportation , Public Board of Civil Aviation, Annual reports 2012-2014
  20. …………(2019) Ministry of education , Annual Report, ( Alamukala) office
  21. ………….(2006) Ministry of planning and international cooperation Yemen , Central Statistical organization (CSO) Family Budget Survey 2005-2006
  22. ………..(2006) Central Statistical organization (CSO) ,Yemen Human Development report 2006
  23. ……………(2013)Ministry of Health and Population & Central Statistical Organization Demographic & health survey of Yemen 2013
  24. ………..(2019) Ministry of planning and international cooperation Yemen , Central Statistical organization , Females & Males in Yemen

[1]  . Earth Negotiations Bulletin (1995) , Summary of the Fourth world Conference on Women , 4-15 September 1995 , International Institute for Sustainable Development , Vol.14 , No.21

2 . UNIFEM (2008) Progress of the World’s Women 2008/2009: Who Answers to Women http//www.unifem.org/progress/2008http

  1. World Development Report 2006
  2. 1. The Global Gender Gap Report 2017, World Economic Forum ,file:///C:/Users/moon/Downloads/Documents/WEF_GGGR_2017.pd

  1. UNDP , Human Development Report 2019 Inequalities in Human Development in the 21st Century , Briefing note for countries on the 2019 Human Development Report , Yemen  file:///C:/Users/moon/Downloads/Documents/YEM.pdf

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