In order to examine the extent of civic engagement of women in Yemen, we asked respondents if they are currently or had been members of different types of organizations. This shows the level of association of people with others outside their house and can be a reflection of how active and informed they are as citizens.
- Data from the SWMENA survey shows that overall levels of membership in different organizations are extremely low for women and relatively low for men with the exception of membership in political parties.
- Five percent of Yemeni women say they are members of political parties compared to nearly 47% of men. Indeed, the Yemeni population is known to be highly politicized; however, the large gender gap in membership of political parties indicates that women are not partaking in this political activism as much as men.
- No more than 2% of Yemeni women report being members of other types of organizations such as religious groups, charity organizations women’s organizations, trade unions, cooperatives, NGOs, and artist or scientist unions.
- More men are members of different organizations than women: 14% of Yemeni men are members of trade unions or professional syndicates, 11% are members of religious groups, 10% are members of cooperatives, and 7% are members of charity organizations (Figure 1).
- When aggregating data on memberships in organizations regardless of organization type, we find that 4% of Yemeni women are members of one organization, 2% are members of two organizations and another 1% are members of three organizations or more. This leaves 93% of Yemeni women who are not members of any organization (Figure 2).
- Meanwhile, 31% of men are members of one organization, 11% are members of two organizations, and 12% are members of three organizations or more.
- When breaking down membership levels for women by age groups, we do not see significant differences. Membership in organizations is low across the board but is particularly subdued for women who are 55 years or older. It is highest for women who are in the 18-24 age group where 5% are members of one organization and 4% are members of two organizations or more (Figure 3).
- Women’s civic engagement as measured by membership in different organizations increases with educational attainment but remains relatively low even for highly educated women. For women with no education, membership in organizations is small, standing at merely 3%. (Figure 4). For those with less than a primary education, only 7% are members of one organization or more, while the remaining 93% are not members of any organization. Among women with a primary education, 5% are members of one organization 3% are members of two organizations or more, and 92% are not members of any organization. Among women with an intermediate education, 6% are members of one organization, 7% are members of two organizations or more and 87% are not members of any organization. Women with a secondary education exhibit slightly higher levels of civic engagement: 8% are members of one organization and 8% are members of two organizations or more. Women with a university education or higher are understandably the most likely to be members of different organizations with 15% reporting being members of one organization and 8% being members of two organizations or more. Still, a hefty majority of women with a university education or higher (77%) are not members of any organization.
- When comparing women who are part of the labor force with those who are not, we find a large difference in the levels of membership in different organizations. Twenty-two percent of women who are employed are members of one organization or more compared to only 6% of women who are not employed. This shows that as women’s economic role expands their level of civic engagement (as measured by their membership in organizations) increases as well (Figure 5).