The Arab Spring

The beginning or the end of women’s dreams in Yemen?

Authored by: Lody Odeh

Handbook of Arab Women and Arab Spring

Print publication date:  November  2013
Online publication date:  November  2013

Print ISBN: 9781857437126
eBook ISBN: 9781315858661
Adobe ISBN:


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On 20 January 2011 Yemen witnessed an unprecedented scene: Yemeni women and men took the streets to voice their rejection of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his authoritative regime that had been in power since 1978. The revolution in Yemen was in many ways similar to the other uprisings sweeping the Arab region in the way it originated and in its denunciation of an oppressive rule. Grassroots groups were the main engine behind the Yemeni uprising. The role women played in the revolution was very influential and significant. Some have even argued that without the substantial participation of women the outcome would have been different. The importance of their participation in overthrowing Ali Saleh stems from the status women have had in Yemen. In fact, they suffered economically and socially from severe marginalization, and are crippled by traditions and customs. They have been kept behind closed doors with little access to public participation and job opportunities. In spite of living in a conservative society, Tawukkul Karman’s winning of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 challenged gender norms and won international recognition for all Yemeni women.

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