Yemeni gender inequity one of the largest in the Middle East and North African average, says watchdog organization

In terms of gender equity the situation of Yemen is critical, second only to Afghanistan in the whole world. Yemeni women suffer are the most disenfranchised out of all women in the Middle East and North Africa.

This is made apparent by the publication of the Gender Equity Index (GEI) 2012, published by Social Watch on the eve of Women’s International Day, March 8.

The index prepared annually by Social Watch measures the gap between women and men in education, the economy and political empowerment. The index is an average of the inequalities in the three dimensions. In literacy, it examines the gender gap in enrolment at all levels; economic participation computes the gaps in income and employment; empowerment measures the gaps in highly qualified jobs, parliament and senior executive positions.

The best and worst 15 countries in the GEI 2012

Social Watch measures the gap between women and men, not their wellbeing. Thus, a country in which young men and women have equal access to the university receives a value of 100 on this particular indicator. In the same fashion, a country in which boys and girls are equally barred from completing primary education would also be awarded a value of 100. This does not mean that the quality of education in both cases is the same. It just establishes that, in both cases girls are not less educated than boys.

Its 24 points rank Yemen among those countries with CRITICAL GEI, 19 points below the Middle East and North African average, which stands at 43. Its gender gap is far larger than those, already grim, of neighbouring Oman (45) and Saudi Arabia (37).

The region is led by Israel (75), United Arab Emirates (63) and Kuwait (62). The other two countries at the bottom in the region are Morocco (40) and Saudi Arabia (37) both many points above Yemen.


The five levels according to which the index measures the gender gap are: CRITICAL, VERY LOW, LOW, MEDIUM AND ACCEPTABLE. It should be noted that no country has reached 90 points or more, meaning that no country has yet reached the ACCEPTABLE level.

Yemen reaches a CRITICAL value in all the considered dimensions: education (30 points), empowerment (2) and economic participation (40).

At a world level, the countries that have achieved a better score are Norway (89), Finland (88), and Iceland (87), which places them as countries with a MEDIUM GEI. 

Out of the 154 countries computed by the 2012 GEI those five in the worst global situation are Congo Rep (29), Niger (26), Tchad (25), Yemen (24) and Afghanistan (15).

Social Watch members are spread across all regions. The network fights for the eradication of poverty and its causes, the elimination of all forms of discrimination and racism and to ensure an equitable distribution of wealth and the realization of human rights.

For a detailed description of methodology and sources see