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Wages and Employment Benefits - Yemen

Working women in Yemen earn less than working men (Figure 10). In the survey, monthly earnings were collected using intervals. Forty-three percent of working women, but only 14% of working men, earn less than 20,000 riyals per month. Men are more than three times as likely as women to earn 60,000 riyals or more per month (16% and 5%, respectively.) If responses to each interval in the questionnaire are coded to the midpoint of the response category’s range, working women earn an average of 28,948 riyals per month compared with 42,475 riyals earned by men. These figures suggest that women earn 68% as much as men, a gender gap of 32%. However, differences in hours worked and type of work have not been taken into account.

Young Yemeni women (under age 25) are more likely to be low earners (60% earn less than 20,000 riyals per month) than women of other ages. However, 7% of women under age 25 and 6% of women age 25-34 earn 60,000 riyals or more per month.

Large proportions of the youngest (17%) and oldest (15%) age groups of working women were unable or unwilling to report their monthly earnings. The pattern is even more pronounced in women with less than a primary education, with nearly one in five women (19%) not reporting their earnings level.

Earnings do not increase steadily with more schooling. Women without education are twice as likely (63%) to earn less than 20,000 riyals per month as women with a secondary degree or more (31%). While 5% of women without any formal schooling earn 40,000 riyals or more per month, 40% of working women with a secondary or higher degree earn the same amount.

Women in small towns and large villages appear to have higher earnings than those in either larger (urban) or smaller (rural) areas. Nineteen percent of women in small towns earn less than 20,000 riyals per month compared with 51% in urban areas and 45% in rural areas. At the upper end, 46% of women in small towns earn 40,000 riyals or more per month – more than twice the proportion of women in urban (23%) or rural (18%).

Yemeni women workers are as likely as men to receive most employment benefits (Figure 11). The only statistically significant difference was retirement pension benefits, where women were only three-quarters as likely as men (12% of women and 16% of men) to receive the benefit. While coverage levels are highest for paid leave for illness or annual vacation among both men and women, at most three in ten workers enjoy these benefits. Sixteen percent of Yemeni women receive paid maternity leave from their employer and 2% are eligible for unpaid maternity leave.

In Figure 12, differences in employment benefits among women by educational level are displayed. No working women in the SWMENA survey with less than a primary level of education received any of the nonmonetary benefits in the questions they were asked. In all but retirement pension plans, women with postsecondary education are more likely to have access to insurance or paid leave through their employer than women with less education. In fact, more than half of the women with university or graduate degrees receive paid sick days (58%) or paid vacation (54%) and 40% receive paid maternity leave.