Opinions on Gender Quotas

The SWMENA survey also aimed to assess the level of awareness and support for the introduction of gender quotas in elected bodies in Yemen. Currently, the level of female representation in the Yemeni parliament is extremely low, standing at a tiny 0.3% of seats (1 woman out of a total of 301 seats).  Female representation on local government councils is similarly limited with women occupying less than 1% of seats. Since the introduction of gender quotas would potentially promote women’s participation in political decision-making, SWMENA survey respondents were asked a series of questions about their knowledge of the concept of gender quotas and whether they would support such a system in Yemen.

Respondents who said they supported a system of gender quotas were asked why they do. Responses are based on those respondents who had heard of the notion of gender quotas. Among women, the top reason for supporting gender quotas is the belief that women should have the same rights as men: this garnered 33% of responses. Nearly a quarter of women (24%) said it is because women are better at representing women’s needs. Another 19% said it is because women should have a role in political life. Other reasons include the belief that women are just as qualified or as educated as men (9%), that women would focus on new policy concerns (9%), and that women are half the population and should therefore be represented (8%) (Figure 16).