Population size and demographic: 5.4 million. 49.29% of the population is female and 50.71% is male.
Women at Work:
In 2021, the female labour force participation rate stands at 17% (1). In 2017, the unemployment rate of women in the State of Palestine was 47.4% (2). Women only earned 70% of men’s earnings in 2017 (3). About 3.5% of working age women in Palestine are registered to have set up their own business. This rate is 16% for men, a much higher number. (3) In 2016, the number of registered lawyers that were women was 33.4% compared to 66.6% being men (4). The percentage of female Director Generals in 2016 was 11.3% (4). Women have a weak presence in the private sector and are mainly working in public sectors such as health, education and humanities (5).
Women’s Participation in Parliament:
In the Palestinian Legislative Council, women hold 13% of the seats, meaning that out of 132 total seats, 17 are held by women. There is an electoral quota which guarantees about 20% of candidates are women (6). Women were given the right to vote and stand for election in Palestine in 1925. In this year, 25 women were elected. (7)
Violence against Women:
When it comes to child marriage, 20.5% of girls under 18 years old were married in Palestine in 2016. In 2017, around 15% of married women in Gaza experienced sexual abuse by husbands in the last 12 months. This was a repeated occurrence for more than half of these women (8). In 2018, 19.1% of women aged between 15 and 49 years said they had experienced physical and/or sexual violence in the previous 12 months. (9)
In 2019, 59.3% of women were exposed to violence from their husband in Palestine. About 57.2% of these women reports psychological violence, 18.5% physical violence and 9.4% reported having suffered from sexual violence at least once in the previous 12 months. (10)
The life expectancy for women in Palestine stands at 74.21 years in 2020 (11). The adolescent birth rate in Palestine stands at 43 per 1000 girls aged 15 to 19 (9). In 2020, the maternal mortality rate stood at 28.5 per 100,000 live births (12). In 2020, 61% of women aged 15 to 49 years had their need for family planning satisfied with modern methods. (9)
Literacy rates for men and women differ slightly in Palestine. In 2017, the literacy rate for women was 95.6% and 98.6% for men (4). Enrollment in highschool stood at 80.4% for women, with an astounding difference to the 60.5% rate for men (4). When it comes to higher education, Palestinian women made up 61% of all students enrolled. (13)
Current Law and Policy:
There are no laws against domestic abuse. The police, social services and medical professionals lack training to assist when they encounter a domestic abuse case. There is a huge reliance on the family to resolve domestic disputes which favours the generally male perpetrator.