Yemen Presentation: Gender Roles and Statuses

Gender inequality is among the biggest problems in the country of yemen. It is socially accepted that women are nothing more than indulgent mothers, sisters, and wives who perform household duties while men are perceived as the providers responsible for the health and wellbeing of their families. Women in Yemen are plagued by disadvantages and discrimination due to their sex. In yemen culture, women do not have equal rights to men and they have always been considered inferior to men in society. Women and young girls in the Yemen are often physically and psychologically abused by family members and specifically males who force them into marriage, sexually harass and impregnate them and continue this cycle of abuse and basically treating them like slaves. In other ways, women suffer to an extent in cultural practices such as polygamy (the marrying of multiple wives), forced marriage and female Genital mutilation/cutting.

The following issues have caused controversy and protests initiated by Yemeni women against high death rates due to insufficient healthcare, lack of education among children. Gender inequality relates to the prevalent issue of forced child marriage in Yemen. Most marriages are arranged and frequently celebrated at a young age. There is a process in which the bridegroom’s female relatives suggest potential brides to him and his father, then the final decision on the marriage is made by the head of the household. It is strongly recommended that the girl’s father asks about her wishes before he decides to officially sign a marriage contract. The father of the groom has to pay a bride price also known as mahr, and the family of the bride is expected to help her when she is in need. The practice of mahr is a traditional part of a marriage ceremony whereby a money or goods given to a bride’s family by groom’s family. Forced child marriage and “”child brides”” are a common practice in Yemen, especially in its rural areas. Child brides typically age anywhere between 12 to 14 years old or more extreme cases as young as 8(Gender inequality in Yemen). It hard pill to swallow but it is true.

There are young girls who are being forced to marry men who are usually 40 years older than them.‹ The core reason for child marriage in Yemen is poverty. Daughters are considered a financial asset that can be sold to a man of wealth. In desperate circumstances, parents usually strip their daughters of their education by withdrawing them from school and marrying them off to older men in exchange for a money or goods also known as dowry. The generous dowry from the groom is used to support the parents and the rest of the daughter’s family. There consequences associated with forced child marriage that have threatened the health and lives of young girls in Yemen. For example, young girls are often taken advantage of and abused by their husbands. On the wedding night, child brides are raped by their husbands and these sexual experiences have resulted in internal injuries and severe bleeding which have lead many deaths(Natural healing magazine). Another consequence of child marriage is pregnancy. When a child bride is impregnated by her husband, she usually experiences complications during pregnancy that can put her life in danger. Childbirth is the main cause of death among adolescent girls below age 19 in yemen. Girls below the age of 15 are usually five to seven times more likely to suffer and die during childbirth(Gender Inequality in Yemen). These consequences are due to the fact that young girls are not physically capable of giving birth as their pelvis and birth canal are not developed to conceive a child.

There have been many instances where young girls have decided to run away from their husbands to mentally and physically escape the struggles of marriage. In fact, a 10-year old child-bride by the name of Nujood Ali was arranged to marry a 50-year-old man so that the rest of her family could escape poverty as well as the financial burden of raising another child(Nujood). Nujood’s traumatic experience began when she was forced into marriage by her father at nine-year old for a dowry of over $750, after her future husband, Faez Thamer, made a promise to her father that he would marry his daughter under the condition that he would not have sex intercourse with his daughter before puberty – as required by law in yemen(The Guardian). However, the husband turned against his word and sexually assaulted Nujood on their wedding night. After the wedding, a cycle of sexual and physical abuse occurred to the point where 10-year old Nujood decided to ran away and divorce from her husband. Over the past year, Nujood Ali had made history showing tremendous courage after she ran away from her abusive husband. She ran away to court, fought for a lawyer then filed for divorce. According to law, both husband and wife can request a divorce as long as the husband comes to an agreement. However, If the husband decides to divorce his wife, the wife would keep the bride-price gifted to her. Then after a period of four months and ten days, the ex-wife is free and eligible to marry again. The husband must support her.

Cited sources

Croeser. Gender Inequality in Yemen. Gender Inequality in Yemen, https://genderinequalityinyemen.wordpress.com/

The Guardian.Yemen’s youngest divorcee says father has squandered cash from her book . The Guardian, 2018,

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/mar/12/child-bride-father-cash-spend

Natural healing magazine. 8-year-old Yemeni Child Dies At Hands of 40-year-old Husband On Wedding Night . Natural healing, March 3, 2016 , http://www.naturalhealingmagazine.com/8-year-old-yemeni-child-dies-at-hands-of-40-year-old-husband-on-wedding-night/

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