When asked whether they would support or oppose women’s involvement in various social, professional, and political roles we see high levels of opposition from both men and women. While majorities of both men and women oppose women in these roles, statistically significant differences appear between the percentage of men who oppose and women who oppose women in some of these roles. In terms of social and professional roles, majorities of both men and women strongly/somewhat oppose women traveling without a mahram (98% and 91%), women working in the tourism sector (88% and 69%), women in the army (83% and 73%), women working in national security (71% and 66%), and women participating in political protests (66% and 63%). The percentage of not only men who oppose women in these roles but women who oppose as well is significant when examining potential attitudinal barriers to women’s participation in these types of activities. Particularly, the very hig percentage of women and men who oppose women traveling without a mahram or male escort highlights a significant restriction on women’s freedom of movement (Figure 10).
There is less opposition to women in various types of political roles and even pluralities or majorities of men and women strongly/somewhat supporting women working on a candidate campaign (43% men support, 51% women support), women as government ministers (50% and 60%), women members of parliament (55% and 62%), and women members of political parties (59% and 61%) (Figure 11). Support for women in these political roles is a positive sign. This attitudinal support show decent proportions of Yemeni men and women are amenable to women in these political roles and could eventually allow an opening for women in portions of the political landscape.
Indeed, when aggregating opinions on the involvement of women in these five political roles we find that despite 26% of women and 30% of men not supporting women in any of these roles, 57% of women and 50% of men support women in three or more of these political roles (Figure 12).
In contrast, while men and women support women involved in various political roles, men are still viewed as better political leaders and business executives by large majorities of both men and women.
When respondents were asked whether they agree or disagree with the statements “On the whole, men make better political leaders than women do” and “On the whole, men make better business executives than women do,” the data shows majorities of both men and women at mostly the same percentages strongly/somewhat agree with these statements (Figures 13 and 14). Eighty-eight percent of men and 85% of women strongly/somewhat agree that men are better political leaders than women. Similarly, 87% of men and 81% of women believe men make better business executives than women.
These findings suggest that a stereotype of men being better in leadership roles might be pervasive in Yemeni society amongst men and women alike. Nevertheless, the fact that very few women currently serve as political leaders or business executives means there are very few examples for Yemeni to draw opinions. This widespread perception in society by both men and women might tend to keep more men in these positions and could hinder women from attaining these types of leadership positions.
Women with higher educational attainment are more likely to disagree with these statements, but still majorities of women at all education levels agree men are better political leaders and business executives. Higher percentages of women aged 18-34 disagree that men make better political and business leaders than women aged 35 and above, but again majorities of women across all age levels agree men make better leaders. More than double the percentage of women who work for pay disagree that men make better business leaders (34%) than women who do not work for pay (13%), but again majorities of women regardless of work status agree men are better political and business leaders. Work status, or women in the workforce, seems to impact women’s opinions of women in business leadership positions.