With a female literacy rate of 35 percent, a female to male income ratio of 30:100, and ranked 134 globally in education attainment for women, Yemen has been deemed the worst place to live as a woman. Women in Yemen have minimal rights to education, marriage, health care, and they are denied many basic human rights.
Life as a Woman in Yemen
Yemeni women are convinced to stay at home instead of getting an education or a job, and, therefore, they have little to no opportunity to gain their own freedom or economic status. Many women do not even have identification cards or voter status.
However, even if Yemeni women were not convinced to stay at home, their rights are so repressed by the males in their society that there is no way for them to gain their own freedom with their current country laws.
Forty-eight percent of women in Yemen are married by the time they are 18, and many of these marriages have brides as young as eight years old. Yemeni women are not allowed to marry without the permission of their male guardians. Within their marriages, Yemeni women do not have equal rights to custody, divorce or inheritance, and require a husband or father’s permission and to travel or get a passport.
Women in Yemen also suffer from poor health care. Since they are seen as unequal to their male counterparts women are denied many health care rights which results in many pregnancy complications. As of May 2008, one in 39 women in Yemen dies in childbirth.
However, the Human Rights Watch is campaigning to change these living conditions. The Human Rights Watch sent in a letter to the head of the Rights and Freedom Working Group in hopes of alerting them to the situation. The Rights and Freedom Working Group is responsible for all human rights, and the goal of the letter was to get them to recommend a list of changes to apply to the current Yemen constitution regarding women’s rights.
The Human Rights Watch believes that gender based discrimination and gender based violence need to be more recognized, and changes need to be made to the Constitution of Yemen to direct authorities to prevent these things. The organization is also campaigning to get all provisions that discriminate against women removed, as well as granting women equal rights within marriages, and setting a minimal age for marriage at age 18.
Plans for public awareness campaigns are also being planned by the Human Rights Watch, and their goal is to bring social awareness to the injustice in Yemen, as well as support for Yemeni women to become leaders. Yemen’s current share of women in Assembly of Representatives is less than 1 percent, making it one of the lowest globally.
Women deserve to have equal human rights globally, and the lack of rights in Yemen is a matter that needs to be recognized and solved.
– Olivia Hadreas