Yemen

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The Penal Code, Personal Status Act, Citizenship Act and Criminal Code all contain provisions that discriminate against women. In addition, the mix of statutory law, sharia, traditional tribal practices and customary law leave women vulnerable to violence and discrimination.[1] Yemen’s overall poverty also contributes to the difficult situation of women, as does the fact that the majority of the population live in scattered, rural settlements.[2] Women have limited access to health care, economic opportunities and education; early marriage remains prevalent. According to the World Bank, just over 25% of Yemeni women are economically active; the majority of women who do work are employed in the agricultural sector.[3]
The Yemeni Constitution proclaims equality between women and men in article 41, but also refers to women as ‘men’s sisters’ who have rights and obligations as determined by Sharia law, which forms the basis of all legislation.[4] Yemen ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1984 (maintaining reservation to Art. 29 relating to the settlement of disputes concerning the application and interpretation of the convention),[5] but has not yet ratified the Optional Protocol.[6] A National Strategy for Women’s Development (2006-2015) is currently in place; its principal aims are to increase women’s participation in economic and educational activities, and increase their access to healthcare.[7]
 

[1] JICA (2009) p.6 [2] Idem, p.22 [3] World Bank (n.d.) Data: Labor participation rate, female [4] Freedom House (2013) [5] UNICEF (2011) p.1 [6] United Nations Treaty Collection (2014) [7] JICA (2009) p.8
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