The Law, the State and Socialist Policies with Regard to Women; the Case of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen 1967–1990



No discussion of state policies towards Islam and women would be complete without consideration of how attempts at socialist transformation have affected Muslim Societies.1 While the great majority of the world’s Muslims have lived under regimes opposed to socialism, there have been a significant number of cases in which revolutionary socialist states have ruled over Muslim populations. This has been true for the sizeable Muslim minorities in the USSR and China, and for two third-world states committed in the 1980s to a form of revolutionary change, officially termed ‘socialist orientation’, Afghanistan and the PDRY, where the populations were almost entirely Muslim. Between 35 per cent and 40 per cent of the population of what was one of the most important other ‘socialist oriented’ states, namely Ethiopia, was also Muslim. This commitment to revolutionary change turned out to be temporary: by 1990 all three ‘socialist-oriented’ states — Afghanistan, the PDRY, and Ethiopia — had abandoned their earlier policies. Their records of social transformation nonetheless merit informed analysis, if only because of the impact these policies had. Whatever the eventual fate of socialism and ‘socialist orientation’ it would appear that in the 1980s at least, between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of the world’s Muslims lived under socialist or ‘socialist-oriented’ regimes.


Legal System Mass Organisation Land Reform Public Meeting Legal Reform 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1991

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