How women supported a revolution
It was women—dominated by social duties more than anything else—who provided support to revolutionaries, Mohammed Abdul-Salam, one of the revolutionaries in September 1962, said.
He said women were in complete darkness; their function was very much limited to caring for the house, the children and the fields.
Abdul-Salam said women in the 1960s handled responsibilities greater than most men could bear, especially women in the rural areas, and that was one way in which they supported the men who were revolutionaries.
"These circumstances were the reason for the unlimited support for revolutionaries in 1962" he said.
The power that revolutionaries had at that time came from the women who supported them and who pushed them to do what was necessary to see victory, according to Abdul-Salam.
He said when he was at the Military College, women helped men with their duties by providing them with care, food and clothes, especially during winter.
Abdul-Salam said the support of women increased with the development of events leading up to Sept. 26 and beyond. He said that during the 70-day siege of 1970, he was being chased by soldiers when an elderly woman pulled him inside her house, rescuing him from imminent capture.
"She told me that she pulled a revolutionist inside her home in 1948 and told him not to leave, but he left and then soldiers caught him," he said.
Revolutionaries can't forget the role of Yemeni women in the south during the October revolution, he said. Side by side with men, women in the south were in houses, in fields and everywhere else that men were—fighting British colonialism.
Mohammed Al-Khawi, a revolutionary from September 1962, said the role of women revolutionaries was different from the role of women today because back then, imam’s dictated that women should not be allowed to leave their homes.
"Their feelings were very strong toward us, Al-Khawi said. “Mothers, wives and daughters didn't avoid any effort to help us.”
Women helped their relatives by providing them with the essentials for survival: food, clothes and money. Women sometimes sold their gold jewelry to buy items that revolutionaries needed for their efforts, according to Al-Khawi.
Amal Mohamed, a university student in Taiz, said this year is the first year she felt the importance of the revolutionaries to Yemen.
"The revolution of 2011 showed us how it's important to play roles in our country,” Mohamed said. “However, I am amazed now how women could help the revolutionists fifty years ago."
Amal said stories of elderly women about their aid and efforts during the revolutions before her generation inspired them and gave them the power to continue working to save Yemen in the current situation it faces today.
Mohammad Nasser, a student in Sana’a, said Yemenis still don’t enjoy high standards of living, but what they do have now would never have been possible had the 1962 revolution not occurred.
“The biggest kind of change happened to women because they created a new kind of living separate from the role of our mothers in the sixties,” Nasser said.
Mohamed’s opinion matches with the opinion of Amira, an employee in Aden who said the role of her generation’s mothers role in the revolution and after paved the way for the young women today.
“We can’t forget that despite the current situation, we have a piece of liberty, and that wouldn’t happen without the efforts of Yemeni women that time,” she said.
The role of the past generation’s of women is as clear as water in the development of Yemen at that time, despite the difficult situations women faced. And still, the present generation of young women will again pave the way for the next generation after them.