Women in Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding in Yemen

Maha Awadh and Nuria Shuja'adeen - Edited by Sawsan Al-Refaei and Marta Colburn

Yemen has been ranking lowest in the world in terms of gender equality. The war and conflict has added additional layers of vulnerability for women and girls, exacerbating existing gender inequalities that limit access to basic services and livelihood opportunities, and contributing to violence against women.

Despite prevailing traditional gender norms and relations in Yemen, the research shows evidence of positive changes in the roles and responsibilities of women and men as a direct consequence of the prolonged conflict, including changing perceptions of so-called appropriate behaviour. There is also evidence of an increased appreciation of women’s roles in responding to the effects of conflict, both inside homes and outside in communities.

The report unfolds the multiple challenges women face to play a meaningful role in peacebuilding and sets out current patterns of women’s involvement in peacebuilding, including women’s role in tribal governorates. Stories told by women offer evidence on how women utilise the privileges of customary law and tradition to perform peacebuilding activities during conflict.

Field data highlights women’s dual negative and positive roles during conflict. Although there are instances where women instigate conflict by pushing their male relatives to take revenge or contribute to causes they deem just, this research indicates that women are more often found engaging with their families and communities to resolve conflicts and prevent further bloodshed and violence. Field data also shows that in governorates where women were historically engaged in peacebuilding, they have continued to play this role since the eruption of the most recent phase of the conflict in 2015. Conversely, in areas where generally women did not have an active role, they typically play a very limited role during more complex times.

This report, while documenting success stories and Yemeni women’s roles in various levels of conflict resolution and peace, also proposes advocacy strategies to influence communities and key power brokers.

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Publishing entity/ies: UN