Congressional Office




Human Rights & Women’s political participation:

In an effort towards realizing the National Poverty Reduction Strategy, the Yemeni government has included women and gender issues in all fields of development. This is aimed not only to improve the status of women but to empower them with the necessary tools crucial to the progress of our nation. The national report, prepared by the Women National Committee, showed that Yemeni government has made wide strides over the past years to boost women's role in the society.

According to the Central Statistical organization, there has been a remarkable increase in the ratio of Yemeni females to males in the primary and secondary educational system. This has progressed to include tertiary studies among young women. Consequently, there has been a noticeable influx of females joining various non agricultural sectors of the labor force.

One particular sector where women surpassed would be the political arena. The Women National Committee is actively working to adopt a quota system for all elected councils at the central and local levels, demanding to raise the quota of women in parliament and in the elected councils to 30% to allow higher levels of their participation.

Several Non Government Organizations (NGOs) are continuously contributing to consolidate the participation of women in economic activities. Primary focus has been on vocational training for poor women, thereby creating new opportunities for acquiring professional skills. Several sessions – in recent years were held to spread awareness of the importance of girls' education especially in rural areas, increasing job opportunities, agricultural development and poverty reduction. Many women's rights groups' such as the Women's Affairs Support Center, run trainings and workshops to educate women on crucial issues relating to violence against women, media training and local rights. Moreover, local NGOs such as the Human Rights Information and Training Center and the Arab Sisters Forum primarily address issues related to the treatment of women prisoners by police.

Extending from the previous strategy, the National Strategy for Women Development and Gender, 2006 – 2015 has been introduced to empower women’s status and their roles in all aspects of society and community development.

Another increasingly paramount aspect for women capacity-building revolves on reproductive health. Numerous courses, workshops and seminars dealing with women's issues in urban and rural areas have been carried out. Both the Government and the NGOs are working hand in hand to increase reproductive health awareness, prenatal and maternity care in an effort to reduce maternal mortality rates.

Yemen's Stance on International Treaties to promote women Rights:

To solidify it's stance on the importance of women's position in the society, Yemen joined forces with major international treaties and conventions promoting women’s rights. Yemen signed the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women in 1984.
As a result, amendments were made to the following laws: Nationality, Personal Affairs, Labor, Jails Organizing, Civil Affairs and Civil Registry.*

Women and Political Participation:

In 1967, women received the right to vote, making Yemen the first in the Arabian Peninsula. Over the years, there has been a remarkable increase in women political participation and decision making. The Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum reported that the number of women rate in the electoral registration in the 2003 election reached to an approximately one million and two hundred and seventy two thousands with an average of 42% of the total tally of voters casting their ballots. This was against 27% in 1997 elections and 18% in 1993 elections.

Concerning the number of women members in political parties, a 25% to 50% increase is evident across the four main political parties. In 2006, the permanent committee of the General People Congress (GPC) includes (35) women out of (700) members, the central committee of Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP) includes (13) women out of (270) members, the central committee for Yemeni Grouping for Reform includes (7) out of (160) members and the central committee of the Nasserite Union Party includes (4) out of (74) members.

Participation within the judiciary field is slowly gaining momentum. The judiciary system in Yemen was restructured in 2006 to assign the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as the head of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) instead of the President. During the same year, in September, a female judge was appointed to the Supreme Court and another woman was appointed as the head of the civil court of appeals for Aden Governorate. Meanwhile, five women were admitted to the Higher Judicial Institute as part of the judicial reform program in Yemen. There are approximately 35 women lawyers while 11 women work as prosecutors as opposed to 199 men in the same field.

Women and Education:

Official statistics show that women are more illiterate than men in Yemen, standing at 29.8 percent for men and 62.1 percent for women.

One of the country's key priorities has been to promote and advance girl's education.
Recent studies have shown a wide gap in the educational system between females and males. Primary school education indicates a total of 63 girls per 100 boys in the primary schools. Similarly, a higher gender gap is evident in the urban/ rural areas illustrating the enrollment of 45 girls per 100 boys. Tremendous efforts are being made by the government to help bridge this gap. The government's role is complemented through support and affiliations with three major multilateral donors such as World Bank, World Food Program, UNCIEF and other international communities.

In September 2006, Yemen witnessed the launch of the Business Partnership for Girls Education, a partnership between the government, private sector and UNICEF in attempts to reduce the gender gap in education. This partnership depicts the first major private sector initiative to overcome the barriers to promote girls education. Several campaigns were carried out extensively to boost enrollment and counter the high levels of drop-outs in girl's education within the country.

Such collaborations reiterates both the government's, private sector's and international communities' dedication and commitment to this cause, which has emerged as a national challenge demanding collective social action.

USAID has played a pivotal role in boosting Yemen's education sector. Some of the programs focused on building and renovating schools, providing basic equipment, training female teachers provided literacy classes for women. Moreover, a $10 million Yemen Accelerated Learning Activity (YALA) was launched to boost children's access especially girls to primary education, thereby reducing gender inequality in the education system.


* Sources:

  • IRIN,SANA, 8 March 2006
    Saba news, May 12,2007
    Freedom House Report Yemen 2007
    Saba news, March 20, 2004
    IRIN, January 21,2007





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