Remove “Half Person” Status of Women in Court

women courts Yemen

Target: President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi

Goal: Accept women as full people in the court system of Yemen

Women living in Yemen are still waiting to obtain a right that nearly all of us take for granted: the right to be considered a full human being. Just as slaves were counted as 3/5 of a person in the early American Constitution, women in Yemen are considered a mere half of a person. Mimicking how slaves were counted nearly 200 years ago, this law is inaccurate, disturbing, and must be changed.

Women in Yemen who wish to testify in court are subject to an array of restrictions because of their gender. Their testimony is often taken with a grain of salt if not backed by a male’s testimony. Females are only counted on when testimony is needed about a location where a man would not be. They are also not permitted to testify on the issues of defamation, adultery, theft, or sodomy. Furthermore, women in Yemen have limited rights in regards to divorce, child custody, and travel. They may inherit money, but it can only be half that of a male heir.

When added together, these restrictions are severely limiting to a woman’s success and opportunities. Ask that the court system count Yemen women as whole people, because that is what they are.


Dear Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi,

Due to the fact that women face multiple forms of legislative discrimination in Yemen, it is crucial that they at least be counted as full citizens. The struggle of women in Yemen is cumulative, and I urge you to help by ensuring that women are a counted as full human beings in court, and that their testimony is given just as much credence as testimony from a man.

This law stands in direct opposition of a woman who may try to protect herself in court. If she witnesses a crime, her testimony will currently be overlooked, enabling criminals to get away with whatever they’ve done. To not count a woman’s testimony is to literally cut in half the pool of potential witnesses of a serious crime.

Women are barely represented in government and hold few positions in the legal system. They suffer high rates of poverty, low rates of literacy, and there are no laws that protect against marital rape. There are a variety of other Yemeni laws that restrict women’s rights in regards to inheritance, divorce, and child custody. Granting them citizenship as full individuals is the first step to reducing the hatred that Yemen fosters towards women.

We ask that this harmful and illogical legislation be updated to count women as full persons, not half persons.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Alexandra Pugachevsky via Wikimedia

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