On International Women’s Day 2012: Only 10% of Editors of Daily Newspapers in the Palestinian Territories are Women.

1921 The Establishment of the first female Palestinian legitimate Union

Iqbal Tamimi

About half of the Palestinian society are females. The estimated population at end of 2011 was 4.2 million in the Palestinian territory of whom 2.2 million are males and 2.0 million females.  In addition, males comprise 50.8% of total population compared to 49.2% for females. 

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More than half of the females aged 15 years and above are married. Of every 10 females aged 15 years and above, 6 of them are married. Conversely, 3 women out of 10 never got married, 6.1% are widows, while 1.3% divorced, 1.8% engaged for the first time and 0.2% are separated.

Literacy percentages among females is three and a half times higher than that among males, the rate of illiteracy among males is 2.1% compared to 7.4% among females according to 2011 statistics, while the literacy percentage among females was 15.3%.  On the other hand the percentage of women graduated with an associated diploma and above was about 17% in 2001.

Despite the rise in the participation rate of women in the labor force during the past ten years, the rate is still considered low; at 16.6% of females in the labor force in 2011 compared to 10.3% in 2001, compared to the participation rate of men in the labor force which is four times higher than that of females.

On the other hand, there is a gap in the average daily wages between men and women in 2011; with women’s average daily wages almost 84% of that of men’s.

Women’s participation in the labor force is important for sustainable development.  But the unemployment rate seems to be increasing among women. Since it was 28.4% in 2011 compared to 13.8% in 2001.

The proportion of severe poverty among households headed by women was about 15% in 2010; 20.6% in Gaza Strip compared to 12.5% in the West Bank. On the other hand, the poor households in Gaza Strip are more impoverished than those in the West Bank, since absolute poverty percentage was 3.2% and 2.2% respectively. 

37.0% of married women were exposed to at least one form of violence by their husbands in 2011.  The highest percentage of violence was recorded in Jericho & Al-Aghwar governorate in the West Bank; at 47.3% and the lowest was recorded in Ramallah & Al Bireh governorate at 14.2%, while this percentage reached its highest in Gaza governorate at 58.1%. The lowest percentage was recorded in Rafah governorate at 23.1%.

On the other hand, 5% of women were subjected to psychological violence in the streets by non-relatives and 1.3% were subjected to sexual harassment, while 0.6 % of women were subjected to physical violence in the same location, and 4.0% of women were subjected to psychological violence by service providers and other individuals who were present at such public locations such as health, social, and cultural services.

20.1% of women at the age of 18 or over, suffer from at least one chronic disease, compared to 16.2% of men in the same age group, the prevalence in West Bank is higher than in Gaza Strip; at 21.5% and 17.6% respectively. Obviously hypertension, diabetes and arthritis are the most prevalent among women.

7.8% of the members of the Legislative Council in 2010 were women. But the percentage of women in the Legislative Council in Gaza Strip is higher than that in West Bank; at 15.2% and 3.7% respectively. 11.3% of judges are women, and the percentage of female judges in both West Bank and Gaza Strip reached almost 12% in West Bank, and 10% in Gaza Strip. Only 10% of editors of daily papers in the Palestinian territory are women.

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