For Yemeni teens, life depends on a variety of factors, including their parent's socio-economic status and their sex. While many teens in Yemen participate in activities much as teenagers in the United States do -- going to school, attending extracurricular activities -- teens whose family need additional income might work full time instead of attending school or enjoying extracurricular pursuits. Social and religious rules prevent casual interactions and friendship between sexes, boundaries that are strictly enforced throughout all aspects of teenage life.
Unless the teenager is attending a private or international school, males and females attend separate high schools or, in some rural areas, where limited space requires both sexes to share the same school, each gender sits on separate sides of the classroom, according to the book "Teen Life in the Middle East," by Alī Akbar Mahdī. Yemeni students study similar topics as students in the United States, including English, math and science. Cell phone use in not permitted in school, though according to Youth for Understanding, the penalties for being caught with a cell phone aren't usually severe.
Male and female teenagers assume equal, but different responsibilities around the home, according to Youth for Understanding. Female teens typically help wash clothing and clean the house with their mothers while male teens are responsible for running errands and cleaning their rooms. Teens who do not attend high school assume more responsibilities around the house, according to "Teen Life in the Middle East."
Due to strict religious and social codes, male and female teenagers socialize separately in nearly every context, according to Teen Life in the Middle East. Male and female teenagers participate in separate activities and hang out divided by gender. Dating is strictly prohibited among Yemeni teens because of strict social rules, and arranged marriages between teenagers, although declining in frequency, are not uncommon, according to "Teen Life in the Middle East."
Pursuing activities outside of school, such as sports and dancing, are common among Yemeni teens. Expanding gender roles have allowed some female Yemeni teens to play sports such as volleyball, while male teens typically pursue sports like soccer. Even in these expanding roles, modest dress and segregation by gender continues, according to "Teen Life in the Middle East."
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