The Impact of COVID 19 on Women Statement of Women4Yemen Network

The Impact of COVID 19 on Women Statement of Women4Yemen Network

The Impact of COVID 19 on Women Statement of Women4Yemen Network


Women4Yemen, Yemen



Excellencies, Dear colleagues, Distinguished guests,

I am here today to walk you briefly through the challenges that Yemeni women endure because of conflict in Yemen and the reality of COVID 19. Yemeni women suffer a lot because of the conflict in Yemen. They face the loss of beloved ones, death, maiming, poverty, gender-based violence, displacement, and financial pressure. Despite all of that, Yemeni women have worked hard to survive, or at least they never give up. In Yemen, social norms made women more resilient, and this has been reflected during war. It is not an exaggeration if we say that “they open windows of hope”.

However, when Covid-19 hit Yemen, it shut down these small windows, unfolding a new set of extreme challenges.

Some of these challenges include:

1.Economic challenges:

War brings with it not only fighting but tremendous economic challenges. I’m thinking here of Yemeni women who work in what I’ll call the informal sector. These are women who work in small businesses like hairdressing, sewing, and home food catering. When COVID 19 hit, these women lost their small businesses. In Aden for example, the majority of the small businesses are led by women and they are all affected. One of the women I know said to me“Poverty is the best friend of Corona,”

2.Gender inequalities:

To double their problems, women in areas under the control of the Ansar Allah movement are asked to shut down their business such as hair salons, while men who operate businesses are allowed to remain open. This sends a message that women’s work is not as important as men’s, despite women taking these jobs to survive the conflict and to support their families.
The issues of gender inequality goes beyond business. Hospitals don’t have housing facilities for female workers. Isolation centers for travelers are not designed to host women and girls. In every crisis, women find themselves with extra duties, and during this pandemic, they are the ones to deliver domestic caregiving and supervise the children.

3. Gender-based violence:

In too many instances, women are faced with the virus outside, and the abuse inside. In either situation, women find themselves trapped. Until now, there are no official statistics on gender-based violence, but women working on the ground report an increase of gender-based violence cases. These are largely the result of loss of jobs and economic situations facing men.

4. Health:

Even before coronavirus, statistics showed that a woman died every two hours from complications in pregnancy or childbirth, and only 20 percent of the health facilities provided maternal and child health services.
Coronavirus is making this situation worse, including the funding cuts to medical lifesaving services. The impact will be even more difficult now for women giving birth.
Then there’s the issue of health workers who continue to work despite attacks, and non-payment. The issue is much worse for female workers who don’t have safe in-hospital housing, and can’t afford private transportation to and from the hospital. And think about the mothers in this situation who have difficulty now with child care, and have to bring their children to the hospitals since the shutdown of the schools and daycares. Think of the threat there. Many also face pressure to quit their jobs for fear of passing along the infection.

5. Gender-blind response of Covid-19:

Long-standing gender inequalities contributed to worsen women’s situations in Yemen in light of Covid-19. And the current response for Covid-19 is gender blind as well. In Yemen, there is no consideration for the specific needs of women and girls in the responses to Covid-19 or the precautionary measures the various authorities are taking.

6. Increase of pressure/responsibilities:

Women endure more pressure because of coronavirus, including women relatives of detainees. They face extra challenges as they lose their income after the detention of their male providers, and because of the social distancing and the poor role of the concerned organizations to support them in reaching and visiting their relatives. That fact comes from the Associations of the Abductees’ Mothers. Also social norms assign women to be the ones to take care of the patients in the family, in addition to their daily chores and - often - their work outside the home.


So there are challenges. But there are also opportunities.

  1. As a result of Covid-19, women have the ability to have more access via cyber meetings, and can attend high-level meetings with minimum funding, and fewer logistical obstacles. In our network, for example, we held an online Iftar4peace to call on an immediate ceasefire and we were able to gather international women working in peace and women on the ground.
  2. Grassroots women peace-builders are the resilience power and the first frontline responders, therefore they will continue to find opportunities in these difficult times.
  3. Yemen has a young population and supporting them via the finance technology movement can be an opportunity.


  1. With the conflict and Covid-19 colliding, ending war is the prerequisite to focus on the true fight of our lives, defeating this virus as stated by the UN General Secretary. We call for the establishment of an independent committee in Yemen to monitor the progress of the peace process and the commitment of declaration of ceasefire. This will support the current mediations, and put pressure on all parties to adhere to their vows.
  2. Mainstream gender in all Covid-19 response actions and support women-led groups to monitor abuses related to Covid-19.
  3. Cutting aid is not the solution, so aid should continue while ensuring new measures to guarantee aid delivery, accountability and transparency, particularly during Covid-19.

In conclusion, I would say that the work to make lives better for Yemeni women was already challenging before but this pandemic has made the job all the more urgent. I implore all of us to do everything we can to help them now. Thank you.

Kawkab al-Thaibani
Women4Yemen Network



al-Thaibani, K. (2019). Agents for Change: Women as Grassroots Builders in Yemen. Women4Yemen.
Humanitarian Needs Review . (2019). Yemen: 2019 Humanitarian Needs Overview . UNOCHA.
UNFPA. (2020). COVID-19 strikes Yemen as humanitarian funding dries up. UNFPA.
Women4Yemen Network. (2019). WFP decision to halt aid is an indicator of a larger problem of crushed civil space, affecting the lives of millions of Yemenis and threatening opportunities for sustainable peace. Women4Yemen Network.
Women4Yemen Network. (2020). Global Appeal for Ceasefire Requires Commitment and Accountability in Yemen.
Yemeni Archive . (2019). Medical Facilities Under Fire. Yemeni Archive.
Yemeni Women “Group of Nine” network . (2020). Yemeni Women “Group of Nine” network for the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

This paper was made possible via various consultations with:

  1. Health professionals.
  2. Members of civil coalition: a coalition of grassroots women-led organizations established by Women4Yemen Network.
  3. Three peace activists.


Iftar4Peace Reaffirms Importance of Global Ceasefire Call in Yemen

Iftar4Peace Reaffirms Importance of Global Ceasefire Call in Yemen

Iftar4Peace Reaffirms Importance of Global Ceasefire Call in Yemen


Women4Yemen, Yemen



The holy month of Ramadan has arrived, and Yemen is still facing a bloody war and ongoing fighting, amid fears of an outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Yemen. On April 10, Yemen’s first case of the disease was confirmed, amid concerns about the ability of the country’s health infrastructure to manage such a crisis. 

With that, in the spirit of the holy month, we call on all the conflict parties to respond to the UN-brokered global ceasefire and to release all detainees and abductees, including journalists and women. 


Participants of Iftar4Peace launched by Women4Yemen

What else you can do?

*Read our latest statement about the UN-brokered global ceasefire

*You can also view Our statement along with other eight Yemeni Women Groups, calling for a ceasefire. 

Sign our petition:

*Sign the global petition to support the call for ceasefire:


*You can also visit our website and visit our social media at Facebook and Twitter.

Bombing Women’s Prison Renews the Suffering of Taiz

Bombing Women’s Prison Renews the Suffering of Taiz

Bombing Women’s Prison Renews the Suffering of Taiz


Women4Yemen, Yemen


Women for Yemen Network condemns the bombing of the central prison in Taiz governorate on Sunday 5 April 2020, which resulted in the killing of six women and a child, and the wounding of others, according to human rights sources,  eyewitnesses, and the investigative report by the Yemeni Archive. The bombing was carried out by the Ansar Allah group, "the Houthis”, who continue to target civilians and civilian facilities in the city, the last of which was a snipe attack on two children, one of whom died and the other was wounded. The sources said that the victims of the bombing were those who had been released under the direction of the Attorney General of the legitimate authorities in Yemen.

The Network regrets that this targeted attack happened in conjunction with the international call to stop the war in order to confront the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. An international campaign has been launched to demand the release of detainees in prisons by all parties, with the participation of many international and local organizations, including the Women for Yemen Network.

The Network also expresses its concern about the Houthi group continuing their military escalation and expansion in both the Ma'rib and Al-Jawf Governorate, as well as their external escalation. The Network confirms that such escalatory actions constitute a threat to the international call for a ceasefire, as we mentioned in our last statement.

The Network urges the armed Houthi group to adhere to its acceptance of the UN Special Envoy to Yemen's call for ceasefire, stressing the necessity of dismantling the siege on Taiz and opening the main roads and corridors quickly so that the coronavirus can be confronted safely. Additionally, the Network recommends to the international community that priority should be given to implement the Statement of Understanding on Taiz and the establishment of a joint committee according to the Stockholm Agreement. The Network calls for the establishment of a group that works to monitor peace and assess the efforts made in the peace process, reporting any violations by any party to the conflict and putting pressure on the Houthi group to stop internal and external military escalation, including the indiscriminate shelling of neighborhoods and civil installations, the planting of land mines and the detention of journalists, activists and women.

Yemeni Women “Group of Nine” network for the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325

Yemeni Women “Group of Nine” network for the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325

Yemeni Women “Group of Nine” network for the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 


Women4Yemen, Yemen



Our fair demand is to stop the war and armed conflicts (1)

The international community today, led by the UN Security Council and its humanitarian and human rights organizations are focused on peace initiatives and the calls for ceasefire to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

These organizations have sent statements, messages and calls to all countries around the world to take precautionary measures to deal with the global and transboundary outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic threatening the lives of everyone without any exceptions. Countries affected have already taken immediate and urgent actions to stop the death tolls that exceeded all expectations. Developed countries were the first to take measures to counter the pandemic with more resolute measures such as the closure of land, air and sea border-crossing points with their neighbors and countries where the epidemic has spread rapidly.

These countries have directed all efforts to boost their healthcare systems that were not properly prepared to handle such a crisis, set up quarantines, manufactured ventilators and called for factories to produce more of the needed medical equipment, face masks and sterilizers, in addition to imposing complete and partial lockdown.

Some countries took more serious measures to counter the pandemic and too measures to start developing effective vaccines to stop the spread of the COVID-19, although such attempts are still in their early stages but are considered effective measures. These were accompanied by imposing stay-at-home and social distancing procedures to name a few.

They have also offered government funding to the public and private sectors to prevent and stop their economic deterioration as a result of keeping their workforce and staff at home; part of the preventive measures aimed to ensure public health and safety.

Many private sector institutions implemented work-from-home scheme for their employees in order to maintain ongoing livelihood for the peoples of these countries and to enable them to meet the minimum living requirements and so as not to expose them to further tragic situations. Companies continued to pay salaries and remuneration out of their keenness to prevent tragedies that these countries were not prepared for.

In our region, Arab countries have started taking precautionary steps and preventive measures that varied depending on the conditions of each state and the manner in which the political leaders and rulers viewed this pandemic.

In our country, some measures were taken but in fact they were not up to the level of danger that threatens all Yemenis, as such measures are inadequate.

Leaders of all conflicting parties must seek more effective measures to this confront this pandemic and to address its effects, which are not excluded to the health field as they include economic, social and psychological effects, and to reduce their impact on our people all over the country. These leaders need to rethink these measures specially with the continuation of  war and armed conflict.

This pandemic makes it imperative for those leaders to stand up to their humanitarian and national responsibilities in response to the international calls by the United Nations in specific and its Special Envoy for Yemen Mr. Martin Griffiths. These repeated calls, statements and messages demand an immediate ceasefire and the release of all detainees as a prelude to stopping the war and violence, engage in constructive dialogues to reach a comprehensive political settlement and stop the bloodshed in Yemen. It is imperative to resort to reason and work on remedying the economic conditions that have worsened due to the prolonged war and armed conflicts that herald a human catastrophe if the pandemic spreads to Yemen. Our health system is fragile and is not equipped to counter this pandemic along with the collapse of other basic services, including those related to sanitation and the scarcity of clean drinking water, taking into consideration the significant and essential role of both in the prevention of the pandemic. A recent study by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) indicated that 76 million in the Arab World lack access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities and services especially in communities that are witnessing large displacements because of wars and violence, and these, of course, include Yemen.

This pandemic carries challenges that Arab governments need to combat. These challenges are not limited to health risks but to huge socio-economic effects if the virus spreads further in our region. The leaders need to recognize and acknowledge their responsibilities by accepting the international calls for ceasefire, returning to the negotiation table and engaging in open-minded discussions.

The pandemic is far riskier than what they assume, as the repercussions of its spread in our country will relentlessly destroy more Yemeni lives, demolish all what has been built and prevent the revival of the economy which is already deteriorating from the war and armed conflicts.

Citizens will then be exposed to death, famine and destitution, and the international community will not be able to provide any urgent humanitarian and medical relief, as it will not be able to provide the minimum requirements, and in best case scenarios, the required will be reduced as the supporting countries and international organizations will be busy reprioritizing their support and means to provide it due to many considerations.


For all these reasons, we in the "Group of Nine" Network support peace efforts and initiatives and call on our brothers and leaders in the Yemeni warring parties to reconsider their positions, spare Yemeni blood and asses the new reality of the COVID-19, prepare for it and realize that wars and armed conflicts have imposed substantial burden on the Yemeni citizen, and they no longer can combat this pandemic which will double the humanitarian tragedy. We are aware that the circumstances are better today with the parties sensing their responsibilities not only for ceasefire, but to stop the war and armed conflicts and enter a comprehensive peace settlement that leads to an all-inclusive and sustainable peace process reaching peace agreements that fulfil the rights and interests of all parties.


The Yemeni women's "Group of the Nine" Network for the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security:

  • The Yemeni Women’s Pact for Peace and Security/Tawafuq
  • The Yemeni Women’s Summit
  • Women’s Peace Voices
  • Coalition of Peace Partners
  • Southern Women for Peace
  • Women’s Solidarity Network
  • Women for Yemen Network
  • Young Leadership Development Foundation
  • Ma'rib Girls Foundation - Southern Women for Peace


Statement by The Yemeni Women "Group of Nine" Network

Statement by The Yemeni Women "Group of Nine" Network

Statement by The Yemeni Women "Group of Nine" Network


Women4Yemen, Yemen



Under the Yemeni women “Group of Nine” Network, we work in the field of security and peace, and monitor with great interest the ceasefire appeals in Yemen called for by the UN Special Envoy, Mr. Martin Griffiths, coincided with a statement made by UN Secretary General Mr. Antonio Guterres. In our working group, we value the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, and aim to facilitate the immediate ceasefire among all parties of the conflict in Yemen, in light of the new COVID-19 pandemic.

We realize that this pandemic imposes on the international community added responsibilities, mainly to make every possible effort to put an end to all conflicts and struggles in the world, and Yemen is one of the countries that have been suffering from the effects of violence and war. We are certain that the continuation of this conflict in the light of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic will only bring more disasters and tragedies that will affect all segments of society.

Those who are most affected by the war – including survivors, displaced women, female victims of domestic violence, the elderly and people with disabilities, as well as detainees –will be the most affected by this pandemic, especially with the erosion of the health system in Yemen coupled with the deterioration of basic services, including those related to sanitation, and the scarcity of clean drinking water, which had led to an increase in mortality rates in the country due to diseases and epidemics that swept the country due to the ongoing war, now in its sixth year, leading to a deterioration in economic and security conditions in many Yemeni regions. An outbreak of the Covid19 pandemic in Yemen in the light of these conditions would certainly exacerbate the situation and increase the suffering of the country’s population.

As individual women and as representatives of civil society, political organizations and networks, we today face a tremendous test that requires our vigilance and the mobilization of our efforts in order to be able to deal with the challenges facing the Yemeni society as a whole, and in particular women, who are the most affected by war and armed conflict. We realize that our human, social and moral responsibilities multiply in the face of these challenges and it is incumbent upon us to join forces with all local and international women’s groups, as well as with government agencies, civil society organizations and the international community which must support and uphold our efforts to work together as one integrated unit to prevent the spread of this epidemic which might cost many lives and increase destruction.

We in the "Group of Nine" Network also welcome the recently announced truce, and call on the Yemeni parties to the conflict not to miss the opportunity to achieve peace in Yemen by ending the state of war and to move towards comprehensive peace negotiations to spare Yemeni blood. We also call upon these parties to realize threats posed by this pandemic, and we ask them to enter into a comprehensive peace process that also guarantees the participation of women.

The Yemeni women's "Group of the Nine" Network
-The Yemeni Women’s Pact for Peace and Security/Tawafuq
-Women’s Solidarity Network
-The Yemeni Women’s Summit
- Women for Yemen Network
- Women’s Peace Voices
- Young Leadership Development Foundation
- Coalition of Peace Partners
- Ma'rib Girls Foundation
- Southern Women for Peace


Photo courtesy: Pulitzer-award winner Maad Alzekri




Sanaa, Yemen

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