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(Photo by ESSA AHMED / AFP)

Yemeni law places women on an equal footing with men, but the execution of the law is often impeded by tradition. For instance, according to the law, women enjoy freedom of travel, but unmarried women who are not accompanied by a male relative are often turned back at airports. A married woman requires her husband’s consent to travel abroad. Women’s wages are only 30 percent of men’s. In a 2003 survey the UN concluded that 50 percent of all married women were subject to male violence. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2003 an estimated 38.2 percent of women between 15 and 49 years of age suffered a form of genital mutilation. On the 2011 UN Gender Inequality Index, Yemen ranked an extremely low 146th.

That said, women hold much promise for Yemen. Girls often perform better at school, as a professional career is the best way to achieve independence. Girls have ample time to study, as they are not supposed to spend time outside the home. Most office work is performed by females, although their superiors are usually men. Women are generally not accepted in managerial and political positions. An opinion poll in early 2008 indicated that 53 percent of the respondents – of whom three-quarters were educated young males – opposed the election of a female mayor in Sanaa.

In 2006, the ruling General People’s Congress (GPC) made it one of its goals to integrate more women into the economy, setting a target of 15 percent of all government positions. A deadline for meeting this target has not, however, been established. Women constitute 22 percent of the total labour force. For the informal economy the figure is 38 percent, while the female segment of the formal public sector is only 9 percent. In 2010 the Human Development Report put the economic loss due to gender inequality at over 80 percent, compared with the Netherlands (17 percent), China (45 percent), Qatar (67 percent), and Iraq (75 percent).

Gender and education in Yemen society
Gender and education in Yemen society
Life expectancy and economic outlook Yemen
Life expectancy and economic outlook Yemen

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