Women are suffering in Yemeni society [Archives:2005/819/Community]

February 24 2005

Taiz Bureau
Hana'a, aged 26, is a university graduate who could not find a government job, despite searching at various government offices every day. Finally Hana'a found a job working in a fast food restaurant for a very low salary.

Hana'a noted that regardless of the low salary, the most important thing is that she has a job to help support her family. With such a small salary though, she now lives on one meal a day.

“What upsets me a lot is that during my university study I endured sleeplessness in the hope that I could secure a job after my graduation,” Hana'a said.

Hana'a's experience tells a lot about the labor market and the work of women who are compelled to seek work. Poverty and unemployment make numerous Yemeni families grant their girls access to university education, though this is generally limited to fields like education, medicine, and secretarial studies.

Fathia, 24, is still studying commerce at the National Institute for Administrative Sciences and simultaneously she has a part time job as a physician's assistant with a monthly salary of YR16,000 to support her family.

These are not the only girls that face difficulties in finding jobs to support their families. Most of them prefer to work anywhere despite the very low salaries.

Hayat, aged 25, is a mother of four, her husband is a soldier but is out of work, so, she has resorted to working as a cleaner for YR 7,000 a month. She is pursuing her education at an illiteracy eradication institute and at the same time she has a government job with a monthly salary of YR10,000. In the afternoon she sells clothes to make some extra money.

“For my marital life, I live in constant suffering particularly because my husband is staying idle at home and it is me who became responsible for the needs of the children and my home,” Hayat shouted.

Yemeni women's employment prospects are further harmed by the lack of employment laws to protect them from unfair or arbitrary treatment in the workplace.