Yemeni Women’s Participation in Economy Is the Weakest Globally

National Yemen

Yemeni Women

By: NY Staff

A recent study discussed at last week’s National Women’s Conference reported that Yemeni women’s participation in economic development remains low. Many women, the report said, face many difficulties in engaging the labor market and any economic activity in general.

According to the study, this is largely attributed to the general culture and the high percentage of illiteracy. The study cited an increase in women participation from 9.6% in 2004, to 10.8% in 2006. However, this modest increase was erased in 2010 when the percentage returned to 9.7%. In total from 2004-2010, the amount of women working only reached about 76,000. In addition, it was shown that the percentage of women working in the private sector was only 3.7%. This activity was mostly in the educational field. With such numbers, the report concluded that Yemeni women participation in the economic sector is the lowest when compared to their peers in the Arab and Islamic world.

 “The participation of the Yemeni women in labor market is limited to 8% in 2004-010 and working women amount to only 76000,” stated the study. In addition, it was shown that percentage of women working in the private sectors is 3.7% most of which is in the educational field. According to the study, Yemeni women participation is the weakest when compared to their peers in the Arab and Islamic world.

There are many reasons for these numbers in Yemen: small proportion of literate women, high rates of fertility, early marriage for women, and the cultural norms that restrict women from working outside the house. Other factors also play a role including weak economic growth, low investments and savings, and a rapidly growing population, the report mentioned.

The report stated that the priority to promote women in economic development is to equally distribute resources between men and women, and promote their participation in the economic field. To do this, the report suggested the establishment of laws that would enhance the participation of women.  In addition to this, the report also recommended creating the means so women could more easily get loans from banks, open a special sector for small loans exclusively for women, and financially supporting institutions that serve women’s projects.