On the basis of its cultural heritage and Islamic values, Yemeni society believes in the importance of gender equality, advancement and empowerment of women, and recognizing that the achievement of political, economic and social development must be a collective responsibility for men and women alike. Yemen is sparing no effort to promote and protect women’s rights; Yemen was one of the first States that signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in May 1984, and has committed to offering periodic reports to the CEDAW Committee on its implementation of the Convention.
The Yemeni Constitution guarantees the rights of women, and has been supplemented over the years with several laws gender issues, to keep abreast of societal developments and comply with international norms.
In addition to the legislative framework, the Government has created institutional mechanisms for implementation. Institutions working to advance women’s rights include the Supreme Council for Women, the National Commission for Women, and the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, in addition to the Ministry of Human Rights.
Women’s issues have also been accorded an important place in many of the strategies and programs of critical national development plans: the National Strategy (2006 – 2015), the Fourth Economic Development Plan (2011 – 2015), and the Strategy for Basic Education (2003-2015), which confirms Yemen’s continuing commitment to promoting women’s rights and empowerment.
Yemeni women are partners in the march of democracy and development that Yemen seeks to achieve, and hold leadership positions in the State. The government and civil society ecosystem that has emerged over the past years to ensure the present and future of women developed in parallel with the upward trajectory of women in civil society, which is an important indicator of the actions taken by Yemen with regard to empowerment of Yemeni women.
During the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) from March 18, 2013 to January 24, 2014, women worked hard to convene as many Conference sessions as possible. The meetings constituted a forum for discussing and evaluating the specific political, economic, legal, and social issues of concern to women. The active participation of women in these sessions as well as in the several conferences of the NDC, where women represented 27 percent of the total membership, sent a strong message to the world. Beyond the NDC, women were ready to participate fully in the political life of the country, especially as they represent 51 percent of the population. Through these meetings, Yemeni women reaffirmed that they are capable of handling the responsibility of rebuilding their country. The NDC recommended the following in its concluding report: “Political parties shall be required to prioritize their election lists in an order that guarantees women representation of no less than 30 percent of elected councils. The order of enlisting men and women candidates on electoral lists shall be as follows: At least one woman among each three candidates. Political parties’ lists in violation of this law shall not be accepted.”