6 Promote gender equality and empower women

Where we are?


The Republic of Yemen missed the 2005 deadline of eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education. However, the country has made some progress and the Gender Parity Index (GPI) for Gross Enrolment Ratios (GER) in primary and secondary education has slowly being improved.

The GER in Yemen reaches 81.5% in basic education and 42.5% in secondary education. This is low compared with the majority of Middle East and North African countries, where the average of GER in primary and secondary education reached 106% and 70.2% in 2011, respectively, according to the World Bank Indicators. Total Yemeni urban GER in basic education surpasses 90%, with a higher ratio for girls (100%) than boys (91.2%). However, high GERs do not necessarily mean that the educational system is efficient in the way it puts all the school-age children into school. The ratio might also increase due to negative factors such as late entry into school and high repetition ratios.

For that reason, NER is used as a complementary indicator, as it shows the proportion of the official age group corresponding to basic (6–14 years old) and secondary education (15–17 years old) and excludes over-aged and under-aged enrolment. In this sense, NER is more appropriate to assess the internal efficiency of the educational system. Moreover, it is one of the educational indicators for monitoring progress in the official list of the MDGs. Given current trends and as the country is in the transition as a consequence of the 2011 political and military strife, Yemen will be very near to the target. However, as the national MDG Report 2010 women economic participation and decision-making remains far less than that of men, and the disparity is not likely to be eliminated by 2015. In the current National Dialogue Conference (2013) women political participation has been brought up to 35% compared to one female member of the parliament out of 301 members, 3 female ministers at cabinet of ministers and 1 female member at the Shoura Council; and 38 female local councils members out of 6,741 members.

Achieving Gender Parity Index (GPI) in tertiary education also remains a greater challenge to be met by 2015, as the ratio between female and male in below 40% (2010). In addition, the labour market openness to women in industry and services has declined from 6.4% in 1999 to 6% in 2004.

UNDP's work in Yemen

  • Elham Sarhan, head of the Women’s Unit at the SCER, takes charge during a meeting about voter education

    The Struggle for Enfranchising Women for Yemeni Elections

    Elham Sarhan wears a badge of courage underneath her hijab. A small bump sits atop her forehead. It is a scar that is indicative of the reality faced by women here in Yemen, and the conviction that Mrs. Sarhan brings to her work as head of the Women’s Unit at the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum.more

  • Since five years, students in Bani Usef sub-district were forced to study in the open air due to lack of space

    A New Generation of Women Leaders in Conflict Resolution

    Katiba, a young woman who lives in a remote rural area called Bani Usef, Far’ Alodeen district, Ibb governorate. People of Bani Usef faced many major conflicts that have been obstructing the development in health and education for many years.more

Yemen's Status

Line Chart
Line Chart

1.19 years
remaining
until 2015

1990 2015
Targets for MDG3
  1. Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015
    • Ratios of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education
    • Share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector
    • Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament