We’re building a new UNICEF.org.
As we swap out old for new, pages will be in transition. Thanks for your patience – please keep coming back to see the improvements.

Press centre

Press release

New Yemen report shows girls lagging behind

First comprehensive report on children in Yemen in 15 years

SANA’A, Yemen, 17 June 2014 – Girls in Yemen continue to lag behind boys, with fewer chances to go to school and reach their potential and increased vulnerability to early marriage and maternal mortality, according to new research by UNICEF and the Government of Yemen launched today.

“Though there has been some progress in legislation and policy development in Yemen, this has not yet translated into the fulfilment of the rights of children, especially girls”, says Julien Harneis UNICEF Representative.  “What is needed is country-wide community dialogue and empowerment in addressing social norms and values detrimental to girls’ rights to ensure a sustainable response in addressing harmful traditional practices.”

The research, the first in 15 years, highlights that girls are disadvantaged in many ways. Many girls are forced into early marriages. Fewer girls than boys are enrolled in school. More girls than boys drop out of school. Very few women go on to become teachers, health staff, court officials or police officers. One in three maternal deaths are of adolescent females. The lack of female medical staff in most health facilities, reduces the access the services women, especially for adolescent girls.

Other key findings include:

  • Yemen remains one of the most water-stressed Arab countries. Water resources are declining rapidly and just over half (53 per cent) of households have improved sanitation facilities. Open defecation remains the practice in at least 20 per cent of households and almost half (47 per cent) of schools are built without any water, sanitation or hygiene facilities.
  • Malnutrition rates remain high.  About 43 per cent of children under the age of 5 are underweight and 19 per cent are severely underweight, the highest rate in the world. Between 2009 and 2011.
  • The proportion of Yemeni households suffering food insecurity grew from 32 to 45 per cent, with the proportion in extreme insecurity almost doubling (12 to 22 per cent, 27 per cent rural). National poverty levels is at 54 per cent.

“The findings of this research are a wakeup call to the dire situation of children in Yemen and this must inform and frame programme development and implementation by all players for the wellbeing of children,” said Dr Mohammed Alsadi, Yemen’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation.

As the world commemorates the 25th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child this year, countries such as Yemen that are lagging behind in basic human development indicators and in meeting any of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) would require quadruple effort at policy and community level to ensure the fulfilment of the basic rights of every child.


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do.  Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook

For more information, please contact:

Addy Al Mutawakel, Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, almutawakel@gmail.com

Alison Parker, UNICEF Yemen,  Tel: +967712223001, aparker@unicef.org

Najwa Mekki, UNICEF New York, Tel: +1 212 326 7448, nmekki@unicef.org





More on Yemen report

New enhanced search