Legal Dimensions Influencing Yemeni Women [Archives:1998/14/Law & Diplomacy]

April 6 1998

Ahlam Al-Mutawakil,
Yemen Times
To mark Woman’s International Day and Mother’s Day, the Yemeni Family Care Society organized an extensive seminar during which several research papers on reproductive health were discussed. A special study was presented by Dr. Nooreya Homad and Asma Al-Basha, on the effect of the legal dimension on Yemeni women and their role in politics, economy and society.

The opening session was attended by the Minister of Health, Dr. Abdulla Abdulwali Nasher as well as 150 participators from the public, private, and NGO sectors. Dr. Nasher stressed the importance of women’s role in society, saying that the ministry is working to give women leading positions in the ministerial offices, public hospitals and health centers. Ms. Amal Al-Basha delivered a speech by Mr. Kofi Anan, Secretary-General of the UN, celebrating the Woman’s International Day: “Marking Women’s International Day holds a special meaning, because it coincides with the 50th anniversary of the International Declaration of Human Rights. Supporting women’s rights means supporting freedom, justice and peace, as well as supporting development and prosperity in society. On this day, we call on all the factions that are in conflict with each other in Afghanistan and other countries to give women their rights and freedom in work and education.”

After the opening session, a paper on reproductive health and its importance was presented by Dr. Najeeba Abdulghani. Then, Ms. Asma Al-Basha presented her special study on the legal dimension and its relevance to the women’s position in the society. “I shared with Dr. Nooreya Homad collecting the information and details that are mentioned in this book,” said Asma. The book includes an introduction followed by 4 chapters. The first chapter deals with the legal dimensions concerning politics, parties, judicial authority, economy, Yemeni Constitution, general elections, civil service and enacted laws.
The second chapter presents the legal dimension of the social field. It concentrates on the law of public education, the law of social security and pensions, the law of arbitration, penal law, as well as the citizenship law.
In the third chapter, the personal status law is discussed, focusing more upon women’s roles and their position in society. It deals with the family relations and issues like engagement, marriage, divorce, nursing, alimony and inheritance. The fourth chapter deals with Yemen’s ratification of the general international agreements and conventions (the International Declaration for Human Rights, the International Agreement for Civil and Political Rights, and the International Agreement for Social and Cultural Rights) and the special international agreements (Child Rights Agreement, the Judicial Authority Agreement, etc).
Miss Jameela Al-Shara’ee, the person responsible for the programs of the Famil Car Ssociety, has prepared the introduction of the book. Asma Al-Bashsa sees that there are many laws (like the citizenship law, labor law and law of civil service) that need discussion and reviewing. The citizenship law, for example, does not give a foreign husband of a Yemeni woman the right of being a Yemeni citizen, nor does it give this right to their children. The husband is given residence for two years which is renewed according to individual circumstances.
The penal law indicates that blood money for a woman is suppose to be half of the blood money for a man. The labor law and the law of civil service gives a pregnant woman a two-month maternity leave and 20 more days in case her delivery is complicated or she delivers twins. This leave is not enough because a woman has to look after her baby and take care of him more than the time appointed by the law. And in this respect, the book discusses a very common custom in Yemen, women getting married at early ages, bringing out the serious results of such marriages on health and society.