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The YWCA of Palestine International Women’s Day Statement 2023

The YWCA of Palestine International Women’s Day Statement 2023

International Women’s Day is a day to champion women and highlight their achievements. This year's theme for IWD is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” and a day to assess the world’s progress on women’s rights. The YWCA is a continuous advocate in the fight for women’s rights internationally as well as locally in Palestine.

Women in Palestine face political, legal, social and economic restrictions despite the fact that the State of Palestine has joined several international conventions and treaties pertaining to women’s rights. This includes the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) without any reservation to any of its articles. The Palestinian government has yet to implement its legislation to the international standards in any meaningful way and women suffer the consequences. Women in the West Bank and Gaza not only suffer from high unemployment rates, and a gap in daily wages, but they are also excluded from participation on all levels of decision-making starting from their own households and up to the political arena. As an example, women only hold 3 out of 24 ministerial positions in the current Palestinian cabinet. Further, Palestinian women only account for 15% of judges, 19.5% of prosecutors and 32.5% of lawyers. This is even as more women in Palestine are getting an education, even having higher degrees than Palestinian men. Women getting higher levels of education is a win for Women’s equality which should be celebrated, and should translate into jobs and politics. For a sustainable future, we need to engage Palestinian women at all levels of society. 

To work towards a sustainable future, where we embrace equality in Palestinian society, the YWCA of Palestine calls on the international community to take measures to hold Israel accountable for its human rights violations and to end the occupation. As the Israeli occupation is an all encompassing issue to further development in Palestine including within the space of Women’s rights. We also hold the Palestinian government accountable for women’s suffering and call on them to abide by their international obligations and undertake actions required for compliance with CEDAW and all other international conventions pertaining to women’s rights that they have endorsed.

This international Women’s Day, we continue the fight for women in Palestine through our projects and continued support of gender-equality measures in the state of Palestine. We celebrate our successes and victories related to bettering women’s access to education, financial empowerment as well as participation in politics, however we acknowledge there is still a way to go. We strongly believe that gender-equality cannot be achieved until all women in the world have access to equal basic rights. If the aim is for a sustainable tomorrow with gender equality as a cornerstone, the international community has an obligation to put efforts into making this world a better place for all. It is our collective responsibility globally to support each other as women and women’s organizations to build a world where safety and peace have a chance!

Happy International Women’s Day to all women in Palestine and around the world!



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