Female journalist in Yemen: a challenge to overcome

March 4, 2020

Wedad Al-Badwi, an independent journalist aged 36 and founder of the Association of Female Yemeni Journalists (Association des femmes journalistes yéménites), recounts the difficulties currently facing her counterparts in Yemen and discusses the initiatives implemented to support them.

"There are many challenges facing female journalists in Yemen since the war broke out in early 2015: salary cuts, job losses, male dominance in the media, etc. The reluctance of families, concerned about the risks in times of conflict, also restricts the activities of these women.

Another challenge is the lack of independent and neutral media outlets, the editorial policies of "Another challenge is the lack of independent and neutral media outlets..."which are subject neither to money nor to pressures from the numerous conflicting political factions.

The presence of armed groups in the different governorates is also a difficulty. In fact, female journalists are limited to a specific area, under a certain authority, which hinders their movements and travel between towns. In addition, obtaining information and statements has become very difficult, regardless of the parties interviewed.

Journalists are also suffering from a drop in financial income due to fewer job offers and a lack of training and internship opportunities. They are often subject to threats and smear campaigns on social networks and there is no effective institution to defend them. The role of the Union of Journalists is in fact merely limited to a statement at the time of an imprisonment or murder."

Psychological pressure

"This lack of security, protection and the repercussions of the war increase the psychological pressure on female journalists.

Faced with these difficulties, they have adopted certain measures to continue to work in Yemen such as: working as much as possible with foreign-based sites, writing under a pseudonym, avoiding showing one's press card when travelling, etc.

The Association of Female Yemeni Journalists organises training courses for the governorates of Aden, Taiz and Sana'a on the professional and legal aspects of the profession and modern media tools. However, these efforts are insufficient, as the majority of women working in the press are novices, with the most experienced ones having had to leave the country or resign.

Another association, the Yemeni Women's Pact (Pacte des femmes yéménites), is continuing its efforts to consolidate security and peace and defend the rights of female journalists.Finally, several organisations born out of the reality of war, such as Female Solidarity (Solidarité féminine), Women of the South for Peace (Femmes du sud pour la paix), the Female Summit (Sommet féminin) and Female Issues (Questions féminines), have managed to make their voices heard at the UN Security Council, denouncing the violations they suffer from in Yemen".