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  • Writer's pictureMajida Kassem

Empowering Women in Occupied Territories: A Call for Action in Palestine

Written by Majida Kassem, CSW2023 Fellow

As I sit down to reflect on my experience at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), I am overwhelmed by the wealth of knowledge and insights I have gained. The various sessions I attended shed light on the persistent struggles faced by women and girls globally, highlighting the urgent need for comprehensive holistic solutions to address gender inequality. However, amidst the plethora of discussions, one issue stood out to me as particularly pressing, the gendered impact of genocide in Palestine.

In Palestine, the intersection of gender inequality and conflict exacerbates the challenges faced by women daily. It is a stark reminder that true gender equality cannot be achieved until all women, regardless of their circumstances, are able to exercise their rights freely and without fear.

Since October 7, 2023, the toll of violence on women has been staggering, with an average of 63 women killed each day – casualties of a war they did not provoke. The destruction of homes and essential infrastructure, including hospitals, further compounds the suffering, with 60% of homes and 86% of hospitals destroyed.

Despite the international community's calls for ceasefire, this remains largely unimplemented. Crimes against humanity, including forced displacement and deportation, continue unabated, tearing families apart and plunging communities into despair.

The gender poverty gap persists, with women bearing the brunt of economic hardship and deprivation. Food insecurity remains a pressing concern, with 87% of women in Gaza struggling to find enough food to feed their families. Four in five women in Gaza skip meals each day to ensure their families are fed, highlighting the severe humanitarian crisis.

It is important to note that behind every statistic lies a human story of loss and suffering. The deaths of thousands of fathers have left behind a trail of widows and orphans, grappling with grief and uncertainty. The cries of mothers mourning their children echo through the rubble, a poignant reminder of the human cost of conflict.

Even if there were to be a ceasefire today, the road to recovery for Palestine is long and arduous, with the reconstruction estimated to cost 50 billion dollars according to UNDP Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States (RBAS), Abdallah Al Dardari. The burden of rebuilding lives cannot fall solely on the shoulders of Palestinians. The international community must step up and shoulder its responsibility, providing the necessary support and resources to rebuild shattered communities.

Ultimately, as we celebrate progress in the fight for gender equality, let us not forget the women and girls in Palestine who continue to struggle every single day for basic human rights. Their voices must be heard, their rights must be protected, and their dignity must be upheld. It is only by continuing the conversation, standing in solidarity with them and taking meaningful action that we can truly advance gender equality for all.


The views and opinions expressed by Global Voices Fellows do not necessarily reflect those of the organisation or its staff.

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