The women of Yemen have never had a fair life even before the ongoing wars that are ravaging the country right now. Most Yemen women even in times of peace were largely under disadvantaged when compared to males especially when it came to health care, education and jobs along which goes without saying is a very bad situation for any women to be in.
Even back then, women were encouraged to stay at home and not pursue education or look for jobs. This is one of the reasons why Yemen has consistently ranked last in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index and the chances of things changing are almost non-existent, to say the least.
The Above Tweet illustrates the emphasis of the Humanitarian effort rather than a costly disinformation effort run by the Iranian-Qatar regimes.
No Equality For Women
With the war in full swing in Yemen, women are being oppressed more than ever before since fighting for the right for women takes the back seat when civilians are being targeted by the Iranian backed militias.
Some in the west and US still have sympathy with #Houthis introducing them as an oppressed sect, despite the fact that Houthis now have a total control of Sana'a practicing extralegal killings, suppress all opponents, recruiting children, and women abuse pic.twitter.com/snYqqSrZH4
— Mohammed Alshuwaiter (@malshuwaiter) December 6, 2017
For example, statistics show that only one in two women in Yemen can read and right above the age of fifteen. The healthcare sector is in an equally bad state, 65 percent of women are left stranded without any reproductive health care services and since there is a major disparity between male to female jobs they can’t even afford it on their own.
If you don’t realize that how bad that is, every day over eight women dies during childbirth which could be avoided with better healthcare. To make the status of women in Yemen even worse, women only make 7% of the workforce which are mostly occupied in education and ironically healthcare sectors. In some cases, they even earn less than their male counterparts for the same job and this is only the beginning of the hardships women had to and have to face. Luckily, there were quite a few movements aiming to empower women and things were actually taking a turn for the better but then war broke out.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that the future of Yemen’s women and girls is going to depend on the Rights and Freedoms Working Group’s efforts on behalf of their rights,” said Rothna Begum, Middle East, and North Africa women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “This is a historic opportunity for Yemen to end the deeply entrenched discrimination against its women in both law and in practice.”
A Future Full Of Hope Destroyed By War
Until 2014, women were finally on the right track to equality and making their way into civil society. With many communities and companies making an active effort to help empower women things were finally looking up. Women were breaking stereotypes, making advancements in many fields and fighting for their equality with many journalist and activists sharing their side of the story to inspire women around the world as well. All their efforts were finally paying off women, finally, women were being taken seriously as leaders and decision makers that were on equal status as men. All this swiftly changes once the wars started.
Due to the war that started back in 2014 which was ignited by the close-minded Houthi rebels, the lives of many have been entirely destroyed. According to U.S Statistics, over 5,000 people had been killed in the war up until 2017 of which 20% were children. Even besides the horrendous loss of life, the long-term impacts that war has had on Yemen society has left the country in a trench of social and economic instability – especially for women.
Even though many women in Yemen actively prevent their sons and husbands from taking part in the war, many of them are forcibly recruited by the Houthis as well as their children to the militias while sometimes being used as human shields themselves. That’s not all, they are also forced to help support the combatants by cooking food and helping distribute it making their services indispensable to the Iranian-Houthi war efforts.
— نيو عدن ميديا (@new_aden_media) March 20, 2018
The Constant Struggles & Harsh Way Of Life
Just like every other country, war hasn’t affected all parts of the country in the same way. While there are some areas that have taken the worst of it there are some areas where war hasn’t affected the way of life that greatly. There are better possibilities for women to fight for peace in the port city of Aden which compared to the north. The north has been occupied by the Houthi army which has imposed extremely harsh conditions for living while life-threatening airstrikes have become an everyday part of life.
In war-torn and impoverished Yemen, music teacher Abdullah Al-Deby offers free music lessons and an outlet to students eager to escape the conflict that has killed nearly 10,000 people, triggering what the United Nations has called the world's worst current humanitarian crisis pic.twitter.com/GqFsOMsSpq
— AFP news agency (@AFP) March 24, 2018
But even under such hellish circumstances, women are not only managing but are also combating poverty by helping their communities any way they can with the few resources they have and in some case no qualifications. While this may sound like women being empowered to a few people, the truth is it’s the exact opposite. Women might have more freedom right now but this isn’t due to a shift in cultural values but rather because of the increased burden women are now under due to the everlasting war that finally shows some signs of stopping thanks to the extraordinary efforts by the Arab Coalition.
Fighters from Tehama brigades and South Arabian (aka South Yemen) brigades who librate Hodiedah with the support of Arab Coalition forces (Saudi Arabia & United Arab Emirates).The picture says it all. These young freedom fighters have their vision for the future of Yemen Republic pic.twitter.com/Oabhr1QtE3
— Ahmed Atef (@Atef2015Atef) June 3, 2018
From helping bake bread to sell to helping soldiers and combatants by providing care, women are even taking on the roles of maids to offer their services for little to no money just to support themselves and their families. While there were campaigns to empower women before the war almost all of them have died with the goal of acquiring more power for women becoming a pipe dream in the country.
After 3 years of war in #Yemen 22 million people are in need of aid.
There's a lot to say about the crisis, but only one word really matters pic.twitter.com/yZiOXdXdzm
— UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) March 23, 2018
From the lack of routine to the struggle of putting food on the table, the list of basic needs that women in Yemen are devoid of just keeps going on. Keep in mind, this effects society in general. Children don’t know whether they should go to school or not, parents don’t have a sustainable income source, they don’t know whether they can put food on the table, it’s the things like this that are forcing women in Yemen to take on more burdens. While the situation in Yemen was bad before the war but since the conflicts have started it has reached unprecedented levels of desperation.
There Is Still Hope
Even under such harsh and almost horrifying situation, it doesn’t mean that Yemeni women have lost all hope. The achievements Yemeni women accomplished during the four years of war are due to the strong and brave women who fought for what they believe in and didn’t take no for an answer.
There are more than a few stories of Yemeni women living in the unstable country of Yemen of today while still managing one way or another to provide for their kids and family to the best of their ability which just goes to show how strong they can be. With their amazing resilience that pushes them forward no matter what tragedy strikes, it’s only a matter of time before the wars in Yemen end and peace is restored which will hopefully bring about true equality and peace for the country.