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Dr. Amatalrauf “Raufa Hassan” al-Sharki

Known for Being

The first woman journalist in Yemen.

The first woman in Yemen to write a regular newspaper column.

A women's rights activist.

Major Accomplishments

Dr. Amatalrauf "Raufa Hassan" al-Sharki was the first woman journalist in Yemen. She was a Yemeni educator, feminist, and human rights activist. She was a professor of mass media and the director of a Women's Studies Center at the University of Sana'a. Her activism began early. When she was twelve, she and her group of friends walked to the house of the Prime Minister of Yemen, Abdullah al-Kurshumi, and asked for books that were the same quality as ones given to boys' schools in Yemen. The Prime Minister was impressed with their initiative and allowed them to attend school with boys, marking the first instance of co-ed schools in Yemen.

She went to attend high school in Cairo, and shocked everyone upon her return to Yemen since she returned no longer wearing a niqab. Al-Sharki received her PhD from the University of Paris in 1991. In 1996, Al-Sharki founded the Empirical Research and Women's Study Center at Sana'a University, where she began providing information about educating young women to various media outlets. In 2000, a fatwa was issued against her and she moved to the Netherlands.

Al-Sharki returned to Yemen in 2004 and continued working on her goals for women by helping women voters in Yemen register, and training them to run for office. She also lobbied for freedom of the press and the need for women's rights, demanding a quota for women in parliament and organizing demonstrations for women's civil rights. One of her last major projects was archiving dress codes and information about what political leaders in Yemen wore throughout history. She participated in seminars that discussed clothing norms and the variety of ways women dressed through history. Al-Sharki, through her actions fueled by her desire to help women, created a legacy that endures today, inspiring women and men in Yemen.

Last modified: 01/09/2019

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