Ways to Come, Ways to Leave: Gender, Mobility, and Il/Legality among Ethiopian Domestic Workers in Yemen


De Regt, Marina. 2010. “Ways to Come, Ways to Leave: Gender, Mobility, and Il/Legality among Ethiopian Domestic Workers in Yemen.” Gender & Society 24 (2): 237–60.


Author: Marina De Regt


Based on anthropological fieldwork in Yemen, this article examines the relationship between gender, mobility, and il/legality in the lives of Ethiopian domestic workers. Studies about migrant domestic workers in the Middle East often focus on abuse and exploitation, making a plea for the regulation of women’s legal status. Yet legal migration does not automatically mean that women gain more rights and become more mobile; regulation may also entail more control. The relationship between method of entry and legal status is not fixed, and the boundaries between legality and illegality are often blurred, with women moving in and out of il/legality and legal organizations following illegal practices, and vice versa. Gendered state policies and practices also affect women’s space for maneuvering, and attempts at regulation may further restrict rather than increase their mobility.

Keywords: international relations, transnational relations, migration, work, occupation

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Women, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Yemen

Year: 2010

Gender, Islam and International Frameworks in Yemen


Saeed, Muna. 2019. "Gender, Islam and International Frameworks in Yemen." Al-Raida Journal 43 (1): 83-92.

Author: Muna Saeed


This paper is intended to explore the intersection of Islam and international frameworks that aim to work on gender development projects in the context of contemporary Yemen. It will examine the opportunities and limitations that may arise when choosing to follow faith-based approaches in order to advocate for women’s human rights and ensure the safety and security of Yemeni women. In particular, I will try to investigate how aligning and contextualizing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) (UNSCR1325) with Islam is advantageous, or necessary for women’s development in the context of Yemen. To support my research question with concrete examples, I will focus on the discourse of child marriage––a persistent practice in Yemen.

Topics: Development, Gender, Women, Religion, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Yemen

Year: 2019

Explaining Divergent Outcomes of the Arab Spring: The Significance of Gender and Women's Mobilizations


Moghadam, Valentine M. 2018. "Explaining Divergent Outcomes of the Arab Spring: The Significance of Gender and Women's Mobilizations." Politics, Groups, and Identities 6 (4): 666-81.

Author: Valentine Moghadam


The Arab Spring has been extensively analyzed but the presence or absence of violent protests and the divergent outcomes of the uprising that encompassed the Arab region have not been explained in terms of the salience of gender and women’s mobilizations. I argue that women’s legal status, social positions, and collective action prior to the Arab Spring helped shape the nature of the 2011 mass protests as well as the political and social outcomes of individual countries. I compare and contrast two sets of cases: Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia, which saw non-violent protests and relatively less repression on the part of the state; and Bahrain, Libya, Syria, and Yemen, where states responded to the protests, whether violent or non-violent, with force and repression, and where women and their rights have been among the principal victims. I also show why women fared worse in Egypt than in Morocco and Tunisia.

Keywords: Arab Spring, women's rights, women's mobilizations, outcomes, violence, democratization

Topics: Democracy / Democratization, Conflict, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Nonviolence, Rights, Women's Rights, Violence Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa, Asia, Middle East Countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen

Year: 2018

A Political Culture of Feminist Resistance: Exploring Women's Agency and Gender Dynamics in Yemen's Uprising (2011-15)


Strzelecka, Ewa K. 2018. "A Political Culture of Feminist Resistance: Exploring Women’s Agency and Gender Dynamics in Yemen’s Uprising (2011-15)." In Yemen and the Search for Stability: Power, Politics and Society after the Arab Spring, edited by Marie-Christine Heinze, 47-70. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. 

Author: Ewa K. Strzelecka


"...The purpose of this chapter is to address the gender dynamics of power in Yemen's revolutionary struggle for change. The discussion is carried out from the perspective of a new feminist scholarship, which shifts the focus of attention 'from a theoretical figure of patriarchy and exclusion to an analysis of the dynamic processes of women's participation in civil society and in public political life' (Siim 2000:2). This process must be contextualized. Therefore, my argument starts from a critical analysis of mechanisms of oppression and repression against women in Yemen and later explores the ways in which Yemeni activists respond and resist that oppression, producing what I call a 'political culture of feminist resistance.' It is my premise that resistance not only implies 'acting in opposition' but also reflects the 'potential for subversion and contestation in the interstices of establishes of established orders' (Kandiyoti 1998: 141). Feminist resistance, in particular, aims at subverting the dominant patriarchal structures of power. It implies collective and individual actions that promote social change in advancement of equality and justice for women. Although consolidation of feminist gains and the successful implementation of women's rights and freedoms in the aftermath of the Yemeni uprising have yet to be determined, my intention is to highlight the role of women's rights activists as agents of change, capable of influencing socio-political transformation and challenging gender power relations.
My study focuses on specific groups of revolutionary female activists who are highly motivated and actively dedicated to improving women's rights and gender justice, within a broader goal of seeking social change towards a new culture of democracy and human rights in Yemen. Most of them are urban and well-educated, middle or upper class women, who became women's rights activists as a result of the strength of their feminist consciousness. In their journey of personal and collective empowerment, they rebelled against patriarchal culture and enhanced their own strategies and actions for change, which went beyond the reductive oppositions of religious/secular, Islamist/liberal, traditional/modern, but were still struggling to deal effectively with different forms of violence that contributes substantially to the oppression of women in Yemen..." (Strzelecka 2018, 48).

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Feminisms, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equality/Inequality, Livelihoods, Rights, Women's Rights, Violence Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Yemen

Year: 2018

The War Took us Backwards: Yemeni Families and Dialectical Patriarchal Reordering


Pandya, Sophia. 2018.  "'The War Took Us Backwards:' Yemeni Families and Dialectical Patriarchal Reordering." Hawwa: Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World 16 (1-3): 266-308.

Author: Sophia Pandya


If political activities (demonstration, revolution, war) can be understood as forms of ritual performance in which temporary social hegemonic inversions typically are followed by competing efforts to restore structure or define a new structure, then under what conditions would they offer potential for changes in family dynamics and gender roles? The past few years in Yemen have witnessed extraordinary political and socioeconomic turbulence, from the 2011 Arab Spring revolution to the 2015 brutal war. Yemeni families have been significantly impacted in myriad ways, including displacement, family separation, poverty, violence, unemployment, sectarian strife, disruption of education, and mental illness. Men and women have demonstrated a high level of public activism during the Arab Spring and the war, further altering family dynamics and the gendered social tapestry, in a highly patriarchal country. Social "disorder," including modification of gender roles, is often challenged by those desiring to restore "order," the "traditional" family structure, and patriarchy. This study analyzes gendered dimensions of the "Yemen Spring" and the subsequent war, with a particular focus on the link between gendered family dynamics and the sociopolitical landscape, also considering the role religion and religious groups play.

Keywords: Yemen, Yemen and war, Islam and gender, gender and war, ritual theory, family, family and war, religion

Topics: Armed Conflict, Conflict, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Households, Religion Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Yemen

Year: 2018

Gender, Development and Security in Yemen's Transition Process


Christiansen, Connie Carøe. 2019. "Gender, Development and Security in Yemen's Transition Process." Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 13 (2): 197-215.

Author: Connie Carøe Christiansen


How policies at international level approach the gender dimension becomes salient, even urgent, for women whose countries are immersed in war and conflict, and who without effective governance at more local levels, rely entirely on these policies. The way Yemen is presented in the documents and media reports from selected members of the 'Friends of Yemen' donor group is in this study discussed in light of a range of narratives identified by Stern and Öjendal (2010) 2005; Cockburn 2007; Henry 2007; Shepherd 2008), 'gender' seems to be relevant to international and put into a feminist security perspective. The further aim is to reflect on the inter-linkages of gender, security and development at the level of donor motivations for aid, given on the one hand the recent prominence of the security agenda in the policy discourses of international interventions, and on the other the international attention to women's contribution to development in Yemen. I ask if a gender dimension is highlighted, subsumed, or absent. Despite feminist analyses of security as deeply gendered (e.g. Tickner 1992) 'gender' seems to be relevant in international security policies by implication only: Since it is necessary to include and consider gender in development processes, gender is relevant for the security-development nexus. This is how 'gender' feeds smoothly into existing policy discourses which claim that development is dependent on security in the country that needs to develop and vice versa; its security is dependent on development.

Keywords: conflict, feminist scholarship, gender, security policies, narrative frameworks, donor motivations

Topics: Armed Conflict, Development, Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Gender Analysis, Peace and Security, Security Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Yemen

Year: 2019

Triple Tensions: Somali Refugee Women in Yemen


de Regt, Marina. 2008. “Triple Tensions: Somali Refugee Women in Yemen.” Al-Raida (120-121): 45–52.

Author: Marina de Regt

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Gender, Women, Gender Roles Regions: Africa, MENA, East Africa, Asia, Middle East Countries: Somalia, Yemen

Year: 2008

Modernising Women and Democratisation After the Arab Spring


Moghadam, Valentine M. 2014. "Modernising Women and Democratisation After the Arab Spring." The Journal of North African Studies 19 (2): 137-42

Author: Valentine M. Moghadam


What has the Arab Spring meant to women, and women's rights, in the region? Three years after the mass social protests of January and February 2011, when and where can we expect the promises of democracy and equality, and the revolutionary spirit of unity and purpose, to be realised? This Foreword offers a stock-taking of events and possible future directions, with a focus on prospects for a women-friendly democratisation.

Keywords: Arab Spring, democratisation, women, women's rights, women's movements

Topics: Armed Conflict, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Governance, Post-Conflict Governance, Post-Conflict, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa, Asia, Middle East Countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen

Year: 2014

Women Resisting Men: Inheritance and Disinheritance in the Yemenite Jewish Community in Mandatory Palestine


Klorman, E.B. 2006. “Women Resisting Men: Inheritance and Disinheritance in the Yemenite Jewish Community in Mandatory Palestine.” Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies & Gender Issues, no. 11, 126–41.

Author: E.B. Klorman


Yemenite Jewish women immigrated to Palestine mostly from the rural-tribal areas of Yemen, where both Muslim and Jewish women usually did not inherit property. In Palestine the situation was different, especially following the British Mandate inheritance regulations of 1923, which stipulated that females and males had equal inheritance rights. The Yemenite Jewish community did not easily adapt to these significant changes, and women had to struggle to implement their lawful inheritance and ownership rights.



“Analyzing a number of representative cases in which women resisted attempts to disinherit them, this article presents Yemenite Jewish women as adamant subjects acting to advance their interests by employing various means. It argues that their initiatives were largely rooted in a tradition of independent conduct brought with them from Yemen. They negotiated with the JNF, used the services of lawyers, initiated lawsuits, sought the help of their political representatives, and engaged male acquaintances to act on their behalf. Their endeavors to retain property are viewed as an example of their search for economic independence and an expression of their adaptation to the social and legal conditions in Jewish Palestine. The article also expands on the attitudes of the relevant yishuv institutions toward these women. The study is based mainly on previously unstudied letters and other documents assembled from different archives.” (127)

“Efforts by Yemenite Jewish men to take over family property in Palestine corresponded with the traditional practice they brought with them from Yemen. Until the middle of the twentieth century, Yemen's legal system was based on the Shari'a (Muslim religious law). While civil and family matters pertaining to a specific religious community were under the jurisdiction of its own religious law, dissatisfied plaintiffs could always appeal to the Muslim court. In matters of inheritance, Jewish law is unfavorable to women: A daughter inherits from her father only if he has no sons, and a wife does not inherit from her husband, though she is entitled to be supported by his estate as long as she does not remarry. Though some Jewish communities adopted regulations that improved women's inheritance rights, the Yemenite Jewish community did not. In contrast, Muslim law is more favorable to women. Generally speaking, it stipulates that female heirs receive a share equal to one half of that of their male co-heirs. As a result of this disagreement between the two legal systems. Jewish women, mainly in the towns, sometimes appealed to the Muslim court for a more favorable ruling.” (127)

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Religion, Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories, Yemen

Year: 2006

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