Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is visiting Yemen today to address the presence of extremism and repair diplomatic ties. This will be the first visit by a Secretary of State to Yemen in 20 years. Clinton said her visit is also intended to address underlying causes of political violence—such as poverty and social inequality. “We believe bringing unity and stability to Yemen is an urgent national security priority of ours,” said Sec. Clinton at a London press conference on January 28, 2010.

In December, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) released a number of reports on the status of women in Yemen based on a survey of 1,993 women and 508 men during June and July 2010. IWPR and IFES conducted the survey research as part of a project on “The Status of Women in the Middle East and North Africa” with funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).


Jane Henrici, Study Director, and Jeffrey Hayes, Senior Research Associate, are available for comment on the four topic briefs on the status of women in Yemen. The groundbreaking data focus on women in Yemen and address factors such as economic and educational status, paid work and control of assets, career aspirations, freedom of movement, and access to resources such as health care.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Labor force participation among Yemeni women is extremely low, particularly when compared to that of men (61 percent of men work for pay, compared to only 7 percent of women).
  • Labor force participation is higher among more educated women (21 percent of those with secondary degrees, and 48 percent of those with a university degree or higher).
  • Eighty-six percent of women and sixty percent of men report they have less than a secondary-level education.
  • Women who work for pay are somewhat more likely to have the freedom to leave the house, and have greater financial savings and access to credit (48 percent of women who work for pay are completely restricted from leaving the house, compared to 32 percent of women who do not work for pay).
  • Women with higher levels of education tend to have greater rates of access to health care (49 percent of women with less than a primary school education lack access to health care, compared to 67 percent of women with a university degree or higher who have access to health care).

About the Institute for Women’s Policy Research The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies. IWPR is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization that also works in affiliation with the women’s studies and public policy programs at The George Washington University.