Women winnowing barley in a Yemeni village, 20th century

Women winnowing barley in a Yemeni village, 20th century

The anthropologist Najwa Adra recounts: “While conducting ethnographic fieldwork in a Yemeni valley, I asked a young woman about her marriage. ‘I refused seven suitors before I agreed to marry him,’ she said. I had always thought that young women had no choice in partners. ‘How did you refuse?’ I asked. ‘I sang my feelings as I ground grain, and my parents heard me and acted accordingly.’”