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The Spring that Wasn't

Despite the fact that they were in the vanguard of the revolution which toppled the country's long serving strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh in February 2012, Yemen's women have yet to see any meaningful improvement in their daily lives. Not only are a quarter of 15 to 49 year old women severely malnourished. A staggering 80% cannot read and write and over half of Yemeni girls are married off before they are 18 since there is no law which specifies the minimum age for marriage.
Even for a region where women's rights are rarely on the top of the agenda, Yemen's women largely face a particularly harsh reality. Grinding poverty is one reason why most women in rural areas have little opportunity to advance their positions, being largely responsible for feeding their families with what ever means.

Except for a tiny minority of privileged city dwellers with a Western education, Yemen's girls and young women are all too often married off at ages as young as 9, thereafter disappearing into their husband's houses, not to be seen in public again.

Abbie Trayler-Smith travelled with award winning journalist Janine di Giovanni to rural Yemen on a trip sponsored by Oxfam to document the lives of Yemen's perennial underclass.
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