Women in Gaza are breaking ceilings

Hanan Khashan, digital marketing consultant from Gaza. Photo by Asmaa Elkhaldi

Hanan Khashan, digital marketing consultant from Gaza. Photo by Asmaa Elkhaldi

March 8, 2019. International Women’s Day is being marked today around the world. For us at Gisha, it’s an opportunity to reflect on the prices, both economic and personal, that Palestinian women in the Gaza Strip pay as a result of the closure tightened by Israel in 2007. Movement restrictions imposed by Israel to this day block women’s access to education and professional opportunities, as well as severely impacting their family lives.

Like women all around the world, women in Gaza face a glass ceiling of societal expectations and gendered biases. But in the Gaza Strip, severe restrictions imposed by Israel on freedom of movement add yet another ceiling, one that stands between women and their ability to earn a living, get an education and access professional training.

In 2018, the unemployment rate among women in Gaza reached almost 75 percent. In Israel, the rate of women’s unemployment is four percent.

Research conducted by Gisha over the years underlines the unique, specific challenges facing women living under closure in the Strip, and the way in which women’s lives, and even women’s rights organizations in Gaza, are impacted by Israel’s restrictive access policy. Despite facing a range of adversities, more and more women in Gaza are breaking glass ceilings, leading their communities and contributing to their society.

In this short video produced by Gisha to mark International Women’s Day, three women from Gaza share their outlook on the situation in the Strip, and point to steps that must be taken in order to promote the dignity and human rights of Gaza residents, including the fundamental right to freedom of movement.

Watch the video here.