Still Waiting for Change in Yemen

Making the political transition work for women

Publication date: 24 September 2012
Author: Sultana Begum, Humanitarian Policy Advisor

Women played a key role in Yemen's 2011 popular uprising, but almost a year on they are still waiting for change.

The deepening humanitarian crisis has led to increased malnutrition rates, and one quarter of Yemeni women between the ages of 15 and 49 are acutely malnourished. Conflict is limiting women’s role in shaping Yemen's future, and although a transition towards democracy is underway, women’s hopes are wearing thin.

This report draws on research from a series of focus groups with Yemeni women on their priorities, views on the political transition and hopes for the future. Four out of five women consulted by Oxfam say that their lives have worsened over the last 12 months. Women said they need better access to food, jobs and physical safety.

This report calls on the Government of Yemen and the international community to support the humanitarian response, and help ensure women play their part in the future direction of their country. The Friends of Yemen meeting in New York offers a critical opportunity to address women’s priorities, and help build a peaceful and just society in Yemen.

Key recommendations

The Friends of Yemen should:

  • Fulfill their aid promises and immediately allocate the billions of dollars already pledged in order to fully fund the UN Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen, and the Government of Yemen’s Transitional Plan for Stabilisation and Development. Priority should be given to supporting women's and girls' immediate needs, helping them to recover from the crisis, and to access basic services and protection from conflict and gender based violence;
  • Prioritize Yemen in their National Action Plans which support the inclusion of women in all stages of peace, security and transition processes.

The Yemeni Government should:

  • Set benchmarks and allocate specific budgets to meeting the priorities of women and girls in its Transitional Plan for Stabilisation and Development;
  • Increase the representation of women in all transitional mechanisms and committees, elected bodies and government institutions at all levels to at least 30 per cent.

Related links

Blog: Yemen: A wake up call to early marriage

The humanitarian crisis in Yemen

Oxfam's work in Yemen

Issues we work on: Gender justice