The Houthis and Women

The Top 4 Roles of Women in the Houthi Ranks

Emma Loeber
4 min readJan 22, 2024

The Houthis, known officially as Ansar Allah, are the Iranian-backed rebel group in Yemen fighting to take complete control of the country. Hoping to model their new government after Iran’s religiously controlled format, they are Shia Jihadists, and are openly traditional with their views on women’s proper roles in society.

They have featured in news headlines more frequently since their reported involvement in the Israel-Gaza war. But who are they? And what would a victory for them mean for women?

The Houthis have made it clear that once they gain control men and women will be strictly limited to separate spheres, with men in the public and women in the private. But within the Houthi ranks women hold several positions. These include the Houthis’ female police force, intelligence gathering, propaganda and recruitment, and working in prisons.

Pitting women against women- the Zainabiyat

Despite the Houthi belief that women shouldn’t hold any authority, they have given some to a select few so that they can police other women. The Houthis have a women’s battalion, called Zainabiyat, whose function is primarily to target other women.

From the American Center for Justice 2023



Emma Loeber

International Relations student providing commentary and information on controversial topics through facts and knowledge.