Advertisement

Minimum Marriage Age Legislation in Yemen, 2008–2014: Exploring Some Limits to Portability of the ACF

  • Rasha Jarhum
  • Robert Hoppe
Chapter

Abstract

Examining the portability of the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) for understanding public policymaking in incomplete states characterized by competitive autocracy and deep poverty, this paper tells the story of struggles around setting rules for a minimum age for (womens’) marriage in Yemen. It shows how the ‘unification’ of North and South Yemen entailed a legal harmonization process that rolled back South’s women emancipation policies that stipulated a woman’s consent to marry and prohibited early marriage (≥18 years), and reintroduced Islamist policies, defending informal patriarchal family traditions that enabled child marriages (≤15 years) under male guardianship. Yet, surprisingly, the Yemenite variety of the Arab Uprisings of 2011 led to an externally brokered two-year transition period (March, 2013–January, 2014) in which a ‘national dialogue’ opened new venues and a window of opportunity for women civil society organizations to influence decision-making on a new constitution. The ‘devil shift’, unproductive debate between the pro- and anti-early marriage advocacy coalitions was, for a brief period, de-escalated and reframed in a new, piously modern Islamic ‘post-Islamist’ discourse expressive of both Islamic and womens’ rights positions; and appeared to result in a shared, enlightened, yet Shariah-compatible stance for a flexible 18-year minimum age standard. The opportunity to anchor this compromise in the new constitution was lost, however, when Yemen politics spiralled (back) increasingly into civil and proxy warfare. This history of failed policy change clarifies the possibilities, but also some serious limitations of the ACF as implicitly based on a western, liberal-democratic assumption of ‘politics as struggle over policy between adversaries’, instead of ‘politics as struggle of power and identities between enemies’.

References

  1. Al-Ahsab, A. A. (2012). What Makes Yemen’s “Spring” Different?. Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, 22 February, 2012. Accessed 30 March 2018.Google Scholar
  2. Alexander, J. C. (2010). The Performance of Politics. Obama’s Victory and the Democratic Struggle for Power. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Al-Hazmi, M. (2009a). The Ideal Response to Fikri Qassim. Article Published in Mareb Press, Yemen. Available: http://209.59.189.19/articles.php?lng=arabic&id=5114
  4. Al-Hazmi, M. (2009b). To All Who Opposed Early Marriage. Article Published in Mareb Press, Yemen. Available Online: http://marebpress.net/articles.php?id=4959
  5. Al-Hazmi, M. (2010). Response to Tawakul Kerman of Journalists Without Frontiers. Article Published in Mareb Press, Yemen. Available Online: http://marebpress.net/articles.php/video/articles.php?lng=arabic&id=6471
  6. Al-Lahbi, B. (2012). To Al-Zindani and Friends. Article Published in Al-Masdar Online, Yemen. Available at: http://almasdaronline.com/article/32907
  7. Al-Masdar Online. (2014). WNC and WIN Discuss a Law to Combat Violence Against Women, Article, Online, Yemen. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/61251
  8. Al-Sakkaf, N. (2009). The Yemen Times Early Marriage Campaign: The Story of Nujood. WISE Conference, (online) Available at: http://www.wisemuslimwomen.org/pdfs/case_study-communication1.pdf
  9. Al-Sakkaf, N. (2016). Yemen’s Relapse into Tribalism, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Prospects for Political Reform Post-Arab Spring. Beyond Islamists and Autocrats, 1–11.Google Scholar
  10. Al-Shami, A. (2013). Early Marriage in Islamic State. Youtube Video, Yemen. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQAJ5U16D68
  11. Al-Shara’abi, et al. (2011). Representation of Nojoud’s ‘Early’ Marriage: A CDA of Online English-Language Yemeni Newspapers. GEMA Online™ Journal of Language Studies, 11(1), 2011.Google Scholar
  12. Al-Shargaby. (2005). Early Marriage in Yemen: A Baseline Study to Combat Early Marriage in Hadramout and Hudaiedah Governorates. Gender Development Research and Studies Centre, Sana’a UniversityGoogle Scholar
  13. Al-Zindani, A. (2013). Recommendations of First Women Rights Within Islamic State Conference. Youtube Video, Yemen (Online): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjIj-YvKzTw
  14. Badran, M. (1994). Feminists, Islam, and Nation. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Badran, M. (1998). Unifying Women: Feminist Pasts and Presents in Yemen. Gender and History, 10(3), 498–518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bang, A. K. (2016). Unfullfilled Hopes. The Quest for a Minimum Marriage Age in Yemen, 2009–2014 (CMI Report No.3, Chr.). Bergen: Michelsen Institute.Google Scholar
  17. Bayat, A. (2017). Revolution Without Revolutionaries: Making Sense of the Arab Spring. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Bertelsmann Stiftung. 2014. BTI 2014—Yemen Country Report. Gütersloh: Bertelsmann Stiftung.Google Scholar
  19. Boylston, A. (2015, April 29). North and South Yemen: The Marriage that wasn’t Meant to Be? Georgia Political Review. georgiapoliticalreview.com. Accessed 27 March 2018.
  20. Cairney, P. (2015). Paul A. Sabatier, ‘An Advocacy Coalition Framework of Policy Change and the Role of Policy-Oriented Learning Therein’. In S. J. Balla, M. Lodge, & E. C. Page (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Classics in Public Policy and Administration. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Carapico, S. (1993). The Economic Dimension of Yemeni Unity. Middle East Report, September–October, 9–14.Google Scholar
  22. Central Intelligence Agency. (1990). CIA Study on Yemeni Unification, 19 January 1990 (Wikipedia, Yemeni Unification, Accessed 27 March 2018).Google Scholar
  23. CEDAW. (1989). Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article L8 of the Convention, Initial Reports of States Parties, Democratic Yemen. Available at: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CEDAW/Shared%20Documents/YEM/CEDAW_C_5_Add-61_938_E.pdf
  24. CEDAW. (2002, August 14). Exceptional Session Summary Record of the 580th Meeting. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, New York.Google Scholar
  25. CEDAW. (2007). Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women: Sixth Periodic Report of States parties. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, CEDAW/C/YEM/6, United Nations.Google Scholar
  26. CEDAW. (2008). Responses to the List of Issues and Questions with Regard to the Consideration of the Sixth Periodic Report. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, Pre-session Working Group, Forty-First Session, Yemen.Google Scholar
  27. Cheema, S. A. (2014). The Concept of Qawamah: A Study of Interpretive Tensions. Hawwa, 11(2–3), 235–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Clark, V. (2010). Yemen. Dancing on the Heads of Snakes. New Haven/London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Crawford, B., & Lijphart, A. (1995). Explaining Political and Economic Change in Post-Communist Eastern Europe: Old Legacies, New Institutions, Hegemonic Norms, and International Pressures. Comparative Political Studies, 28, 177–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. de Jouvenel, B. (1963). The Pure Theory of Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Early Marriage. (2010). Quotes of Five Religious Leaders in Yemen about Setting Minimum Age of Marriage. Youtube Video, Yemen. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHTLwxMLOtE
  32. Edis, T. (2016). Islam Evolving. Radicalism, Reformation, and the Uneasy Relationship with the Secular West. Amherst: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  33. Flyvbjerg, B. (1998). Rationality & Power. Democracy in Practice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  34. Gender-Development Research & Studies Centre (GDRSC). (2005). Early Marriage in Yemen: A Base Line Study to Combat Early Marriage in Hadramout and Hudaiedah Governorates. Oxfam, Yemen.Google Scholar
  35. Government of Yemen, GoY. (1999). Personal Status Law No (20) for 1992 and Its Amendments, Yemen.Google Scholar
  36. Government of Yemen, GoY. (2006). The National Children and Youth Strategy of the Republic of Yemen 2006–2015. Available Online: http://planipolis.iiep.unesco.org/upload/Youth/Yemen/Yemen_National_children_and_youth_strategy.pdf
  37. Government of Yemen, GoY. (2014). National Dialogue Outcomes, Yemen. Available in Arabic at: http://www.ndc.ye/ndc_document.pdf
  38. Government of Yemen, GoY. (2015). Draft New Constitution, Yemen. Available in Arabic at: http://www.ndc.ye/constitution_draft.pdf
  39. Haneef, S. (1996). What Everyone Should Know about Islam and Muslims. Chicago: Library of Islam.Google Scholar
  40. Helmke, G., & Levitsky, S. (2004). Informal Institutions and Comparative Politics: A Research Agenda. Perspectives on Politics, 2, 725–740.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hoppe, R., & Colebatch, H. (2016). The Role of Theories in Policy Studies and Policy Work: Selective Affinities between Representation and Performation? European Policy Analysis, 2(1), 121–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Howlett, M., & Mukherjee, I. (2014). Policy Design and Non-design: Towards a Spectrum of Policy Formulation Types. Politics and Governance, 2, 57–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. HRW. (2014). Yemen: End Child Marriage Enact Law Establishing Minimum Age; Punish Violators (Online). Available at: https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/04/27/yemen-end-child-marriage
  44. IRIN. (2006). Women Call for a 30-percent Quota in Upcoming Elections, (Online) Available: http://www.irinnews.org/report/26180/yemen-women-call-30-percent-quota-upcoming-elections
  45. Jarban, A. (2018). Supporting and Failing Yemen’s Transition: A Critical Perspective on Development Agencies. In S. Philbrick Yadav, & M. Lynch (Eds.), Politics, Governance and Reconstruction in Yemen (POMEPS Studies, Vol. 29, 46–50). The Institute for Middle East Studies at the George Washington University.Google Scholar
  46. Jenkins-Smith, H. C., Nohrstedt, D., Weible, C. M., & Sabatier, P. A. (2014). The Advocacy Coalition Framework: Foundations, Evolution, and Ongoing Research. In P. A. Sabatier & C. A. Weible (Eds.), Theories of the Policy Process (3rd ed., pp. 183–224). Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  47. Kerman, T. (2010). Thunders in Journalists Without Frontiers Seminar. Article Published in Sanaa News, Yemen. Available Online: http://www.sanaanews.net/print.php?id=1858
  48. Kübler, D. (2001). Understanding Policy Change with the Advocacy Coalition Framework: An Application to Swiss Drug Policy. Journal of European Public Policy, 8, 623–641.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Oxfam, G. B. (2008). Evaluation of ‘Integrated Action on Poverty and Early Marriage’ Programme Yemen. First Published Online 2010, Available at www.oxfam.org.uk.
  50. Phildrick Yadav, S. (2015). Yemen’s Muslim Brotherhood and the Perils of Powersharing (Rethinking Political Islam Series, August 2015, pp. 1–10). Washington, DC: Brookings. brookings.edu. Accessed 12 April 2018.
  51. Qassim, F (2009). Women as a Source of Livestock. Article Published in Almotamar Net, Yemen. Available: http://www.almotamar.net/news/67843.htm
  52. Sabatier, P. A., & Weible, C. M. (2007). The Advocacy Coalition Framework: Innovations and Clarifications. In P. Sabatier (Ed.), Theories of the Policy Process (2nd ed., pp. 189–222). Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  53. Sabatier, P., & Weible, C. (Eds.). (2014). Theories of the Policy Process (3d ed.). Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  54. Saeda TV. (2010). Fee Kul Etigah Programme, Found in Shawqi Al-Qadhi Youtube Channel. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgX3ugBtyTQ
  55. Strzelecka, E. (2013). Gender and Islam in Development Policy and Practice in Yemen, Arabian Humanities. International Journal of Archaeology and Social Sciences in the Arabian Peninsula [Online], 1. https://doi.org/10.4000/cy.2062).
  56. Tavaana. (2010). Age 10 and Divorced: Nujood Ali and the Fight Against Child Brides in Yemen, Case Study, (online) Available: https://tavaana.org/en/content/age-10-and-divorced-nujood-ali-and-fight-against-child-brides-yemen
  57. Tilly, C., & Tarrow, S. (2015). Contentious Politics (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Verner, E. (2012). Child Marriage in Yemen: A Violation of International Law. Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, 43, 760–782.Google Scholar
  59. Weible, C. M., Sabatier, P. A., & McQueen, K. (2009). Themes and Variations: Taking Stock of the Advocacy Coalition Framework. Policy Studies Journal, 37(1), 121–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Welchman, L. (2007). Women and Family Laws in Arab States. A Comparative Overview of Textual Development and Advocacy. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. WNC. (2008). Women Development Strategy 2006–2015, Yemen.Google Scholar
  62. WNC. (2009). Shima Network in Two Years: Case Study. Prepared by Sultana Geham for WNC, Yemen.Google Scholar
  63. WNC. (2010, March 20). Letter to President Saleh Titled: Specifying the Minimum Age of Marriage in the Personal Status Law, WNC Communique No 225/1/1/11, Arabic, Yemen.Google Scholar
  64. Würth, A. (2003). Stalled Reform: Family Law in Post-unification Yemen. Islamic Law and Society, 10(1), 1–30 (Available at: http://www.umpalangkaraya.ac.id/perpustakaan/digilib/files/disk1/21/123-dfadf-annawrth-1024-1-familyl-n.pdf).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Yanow, D. (2014). Interpretive Analysis and Comparative Research. In I. Engeli & C. R. Allison (Eds.), Comparative Policy Studies (Research Methods Series). London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  66. YPW. (2010). Marriage Age Raises a Controversial Debate in the Parliament. Yemen Parliament Watch (Online). Available in Arabic: http://www.ypwatch.org/news169.html#.Vw_EiTB97IU
  67. YCSS. (2008). Second Annual Report on Social Policies in Yemen. Yemen: Yemen Center for Social Studies. Available in Arabic: http://ycsslr.org/pdf/issue20.pdf
  68. Yemen. (2011). Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011. United States Department of State • Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.Google Scholar
  69. Yemeress. (2010). Statement of Religious Scholars on Setting the Age of Marriage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rasha Jarhum
    • 1
  • Robert Hoppe
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Peace Track Initiative, The Human Rights Research and Education CenterOttawa UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International RelationsAmerican University of BeirutBeirutLebanon
  3. 3.Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences (BMS), Department of Science, Technology and Policy Studies (STePS)University of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations