The Hidden Half: Women in Yemen

I went to Yemen to witness the situation of women in a conservative Muslim country in 2010. Yemen is the poorest country of the Arabian pensinsula, it is far from being modernized and women mutilations are sadly common: honour crimes, domestic violence, repudiations (many of whom are forced into prostitution), rape, female excision and early mariages (50% of yemeni women are married before 14 years old) and no right of expression. Half of the population lives under the Niqab, the customary black dress, gone are the days when Yemeni women, dressed in jeans and blouse, donned Kalashnikovs as socialist militants in the Republic of South Yemen. Now, they have become black ghosts, their jeans hidden under the burqah, 20 years after the re-unification of the two republics the whole country has adopted the ultra-conservative mores of the North. Until 1962, when the Imam was deposed, Yemen was one of the most secluded countries on earth, despite being a democratic country, Yemen has had the same president since 32 years . The ubiquitous black burqah is but one symptom of the radicalisation creeping through the Muslim world.
The Westerner's vision of muslim women often reduces their life to common stereotypes of the veil, arranged wedding, violence and terrorism. The focus of the 'News' doesn't give us time to understand the reality of Muslim societies.
I invite you to discover and try to understand women within Islam, in their diversity and their beauty.