A shared female identity does not promise solidarity among women in capitalist society. Exploring the prejudices held by Yemeni women over domestic workers exposes class related inequities among women. Recent economic change in Yemen showcases the crystallization of class while local gender identities morph in accordance to overarching capitalist demands. The presence of marginalized domestic workers in upper-class Yemeni homes demonstrates the mutually informative relationship between class status and gender identity. Paralleling greater Yemeni hierarchical and patriarchal society, Yemeni women assert class privilege over low-income domestic workers. Of extreme relevance to better understanding gender and Islam, I argue that Yemeni women of distinguished class status possess and exercise control over the lives of migrant women, thus challenging perceived Yemeni gender roles that acknowledge men as dominant and women as submissive. Cemented by a preexisting drive to preserve familiar honor and fueled by recent economic change, upper-class Yemeni women problematize the “cultural closeness” of lower-class migrant, domestic workers through the formation of stereotypes.
"Economic Change and the Redistribution of Power Among Women in Yemen: A Focus on the Treatment of Domestic Workers,"
Spectrum: Vol. 4
, Article 2.
Available at: https://scholars.unh.edu/spectrum/vol4/iss1/2