In week one of the course we were introduced to five anthropological theories and learned how each perspective has a different interpretation of a health issue. For the country of Yemen, I believe that the Feminist Theory is the best in examining the health issue of gender-based violence. The Feminist theory focuses on the nature of gender inequality, the role of gender, and how gender impacts a situation. Historically the Feminist theory has been critiqued for being more focused on men and how men are more often blamed for gender inequality. However, there have been many testimonies of how violence against women is not only by men, many times by other women. Though women have had a small voice throughout history, to holistically look at a situation there must not be a bias towards any gender. In relation to health issues, the Feminist theory focuses on access to healthcare for women, if care is gender-based, and the differences in health outcomes based on gender.
Yemen has a long history of gender-based violence and has a predominantly patriarchal structure to their society. Women often have less opportunities in life, as well as power in making decisions for themselves. Yemen has had a series of civil wars in their history, and they are currently in a war that has been going on since 2015. The whole country is experiencing an increase in poverty, increase in sickness, and a lack of basic resources. During the chaos of war, the statistics for gender-based violence increased dramatically, and women around the country are experiencing great suffering. Gender-based violence acts include: domestic abuse, sexual harassment, and rape. Other acts related to gender that impact women are child marriage, disadvantages in society, lack of education, and lack of access to healthcare. Gender-based violence is a public health issue because the consequences may be broken bones, complications during pregnancy, impaired mental health, and trauma. Much of this is attributed to the culture that doesn’t value women nearly as much as the men, and the Feminist theory is able to address just that.
The Feminist theory is the best choice of examining the health issues in Yemen, because much of the health problems women face is because of their gender. The Feminist theory will help uncover the issue of gender inequality and how it impacts the health of the Yemeni women. It will also help identify what women are able to do in Yemen and the methods global aid organizations can use to reach the women. To successfully reach Yemeni women, the culture they live in must be understood and solutions must smoothly fit into the range of decisions they can make. Since Yemen has such an intense history of gender inequality over the years there is a large amount of information on the women’s conditions. Feminist theory also considers how the different part of one’s identity interact with each other and can study the impact of these parts with greater depth. The perspective of the Feminist theory will be beneficial in addressing the health issue of gender-based violence in Yemen, because of its qualities of intersectionality and focus on gender.