As men enter the conflict, and many do not return home, the number of female-headed households has been on the rise, and women are being pushed to take on new roles with very little or no support.
Their heightened vulnerability led to negative coping mechanisms, including early marriages and child labour.
The World Bank estimates that women are shouldering an inequitable share of the burden in terms of worsening poverty rates and deprivation than the average population.
Yet, Yemeni women persevered to find new ways to support their families, starting their own small businesses in food, handcraft and hairdressing.
Women who found success in their new trades felt empowered.
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has cut short their success, and with it, hopes of better lives. Many small businesses, have closed, and the closure of schools has increased the burden of care for mothers. For Um Nuria, her only stable source of income – selling samosa near the school – is no longer viable.
The rate of violence against women in Yemen was already very high in the context of the ongoing conflict — in 2017, UNFPA had recorded 2.6 million women and girls were at risk of gender-based violence. With the added economic, health and social stressors of COVID-19, domestic violence cases are on the rise.
The conflict situation and the lack of properly operating government departments in the country makes it difficult to obtain figures on the magnitude of the problem in the wake of the pandemic.
In view of the disproportionate impact of conflict and crisis on women and girls, UN Women is looking for partnerships with 2 NGOs one in Aden and one in Taizz to deliver on increasing vulnerable women’s access to protection mechanisms and services, strengthening the capacity of service providers to support marginalized women and girls, providing sources of income and economic opportunities for marginalized women through capacity development and increasing their access to required assets, skills and partnerships. Activities under this partnership will need to reach and support displaced women and women from marginalized communities affected by the conflict and/or experiencing the detrimental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.