Reforms Needed on Child Marriage, Women’s Rights
29.1.2015. (Sanaa) – Yemen’s government has not followed up on promises to take decisive measures to ensure justice for past human rights violations, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2015. The government should also pass legislation to end child marriage and female genital mutilation, and reform laws that discriminate against women.
A recent study about female genital mutilation (FGM) in Yemen based on the UN and government implemented Domestic Health Surveys shows a small, yet relevant drop in FGM. This decrease can be connected to campaigns and government measures taken against FGM.
The authors evalutated the answers of 10,345 (in 1997) and 11,252 (in 2003) ever married women. They found that the percentage among most-recently-born daughters who received FGM declined from 29.3% in 1997 and 22.4% in 2003 according to the mothers. The rate among daughers of women who had undergone FGM declined from 61.9% in 1997 to 56.5% in 2003. The percentages of women who had undergone FGM and who supported the continuation of FGM and of husbands who also supported its continuation decreased from 78.2% and 60.1% in 1997 to 70.9% and 49.5% in 2003, respectively. At the same time precentage of women who had heard about FGM increased from 50.5% to 56%.
Th results seem to underline the effectiveness of awareness raising even if measures are minor. In Yemen, a ministerial decree prohibiting health providers from performing FGM was passed in 2001. No larger campaigns were undertaken.
Non-surprisingly, the study also found that daughters whose parents opposed the practice were less likely to undergo FGM. Important was the finding that not only the mothers but also the husbands opinion plays a role here.