Focus on Yemen | Paid Work and Control of Earnings & Assets Topic Brief

Publication Date: 
7 Dec 2010

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Paid Work

This topic brief presents the main findings from the SWMENA survey in Yemen on paid work and employment1. The focus of this brief is an analysis of participation by Yemeni women in the formal economy through their wage labor, and subsequent control over their earnings and any other assets. In addition, other features of income and formal sector involvement are discussed, such as receipt of benefits, paid leave, and health insurance as a part of employment.

Labor Force Participation

Labor force participation among Yemeni women is extremely low, particularly when compared to that of men: 61% of men work for pay, compared to only 7% of women (Figure 1). Levels of working for pay are slightly higher for women between ages 25 and 44 than for either younger or older women. Unmarried women and women who live in urban areas and small towns are all somewhat more likely to work than their respective counterparts. However, labor force participation for Yemeni women in general is quite low by both regional and international standards.

Formal education in Yemen appears to prepare women for paid work (for more analysis about education levels among Yemeni women, please see “Educational Attainment and Career Aspirations” Topic Brief). Figure 2 shows that the rate of women working for pay is higher for women who complete at least secondary schooling than for women with less education. Twenty-one percent – three times the overall rate for women – who complete secondary schooling and nearly half (48%) of women who complete a postsecondary degree are working for pay.

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