Yemeni women struggle to eke out a living
In spite of years working hard in Bab Al-Yemen, her income doesn’t cover her family's needs. Al-Amrani has five daughters and one son, in addition to her disabled husband.
Al-Amrani travels an average of 50 kilometers daily from Amran to Sana'a in order to eke out a living.
She told the Yemen Times that she leaves her home every day after the dawn prayer in order to get to Sana'a early.
Al-Amrani has been selling chickens and eggs for 20 years. Her income is no more than YR 1,500 a day. Sometimes, she earns nothing, driving her to borrow money just to afford necessities.
According to the quality, she can sell a chicken for between YR 500 and YR 700. She complained that chicken sales have dropped as a result of last year's turbulence.
The difficulties Al-Amran faces are many. Her daughters look down on her because of her work and they refuse to help her. “When I ask them to help me work, they say that they would rather eat bread with water than work beside me,” she said.
There are many impoverished Yemeni women who take on work like Al-Amran's. Karama Al-Hamdani, 50, is an example. Due to financial straits, she too took to selling chickens and eggs on a corner by Bab Al-Yemen. She's been working as a chicken vendor for 15 years.
Al-Hamdani used to work as a bread seller. However, price hikes compelled her to resort to selling chickens and eggs to provide for her husband and six daughters and six sons.
She painfully recalled 25 years ago when a sack of flour used to cost YR 130. Now it costs YR 6000.
Al-Hamdani's daily income fluctuates between YR500 to YR 1000. On occasion she returns home with no money at all.
Al-Hamdani disapproves of even the idea of her daughters following her example, because she thinks they will be subject to harassment. Despite her age, she herself has suffered from harassment.
On another corner in Bab Al-Yemen, young girls sell Lahooh, a homemade flat bread. They make more money than those who sell eggs and chicken.
A 25-year old woman, who declined to be named, said, “I need this work in order to make a living for my five sisters and my mother.”
She began selling Lahooh ten years ago. She inherited the job from her mother.
She went on, “I go to the market at 9am. I stay until 2pm. The income is good enough that I was able to help two brothers of mine get married.”
Women are not the only ones who struggle to get by. Many children drop out of school in an attempt to provide the basics for their families.
Malaka Al-Ghweidi, 11, left school to support her family by selling traditional cosmetics, like henna. “My father is mentally ill. My mother works to cover living expenses for the eight members of our family,” she said.
Al-Ghweidi earns approximately YR500 to YR1000 daily. Occasionally, she makes no money at all.
She has been working like this for two years. She said that she will not let her mother suffer alone.
“My mother has been working to save us from hunger for many years.