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Full Access Disappointments and New Directions: Women, Partisanship, and the Regime in Yemen

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Disappointments and New Directions: Women, Partisanship, and the Regime in Yemen

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Young women activists in Yemen today often express a profound disappointment over the process of partisan competition, even as they continue to show a commitment to public service and civic engagement. This undoubtedly stems from nearly two decades of slowly receding rights, as the logic of multiparty competition has led political parties across the political spectrum to articulate an increasingly narrow set of views regarding the public roles of women and to allocate fewer resources to support their female members. This essay details the trajectory of these disappointments and shows how the interrelated processes of encroaching authoritarianism and cross-ideological opposition have come to position women as the objects of partisan debate, while simultaneously limiting their opportunities to directly shape Yemeni politics through partisan institutions. In response to a system that has valued their votes more than their voices, women have increasingly invested their energies in the associational sector, a choice that runs the risk of exacerbating some of the limits that they encounter under prevailing political conditions.


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Affiliations: 1: Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Email:; 2: University of Guelph, Email:


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