March 6, 2024

Women’s Day: The disproportionate impact of Gaza war on women

Copyright @مرام علي - maram ali - Artist

According to the UN Women, two mothers are estimated to lose their lives every hour in Gaza since the start of the war. Women, children and newborns in Gaza are bearing the burden of the escalation in violence, with women or children making up 70% of civilian fatalities.

With the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day being ‘Invest in women: Accelerate progress’, we cannot ignore the dire and disproportionate toll that five months of conflict has taken – and will continue to take – on women in Palestine.

“Estimates suggest that since the start of this war, over 3,000 women may have become widows and heads of households and at least 10,000 children may have lost their fathers,” said Dina Almasaeid, SPARK’s Deputy Regional Programme Director. “Civilian women in Gaza are facing unimaginable pain and suffering at this time. An urgent ceasefire is needed now.” 

As the crisis continues in Gaza without an agreement reached on a ceasefire, civilians now are in need of humanitarian aid and a sustainable resolution to the conflict. Not only are women being killed and injured, but with attacks across homes and hospitals, women’s basic needs go unmet. Access to food, water, healthcare, sanitation and shelter all disproportionately impact the lives of innocent women and children. 

To end this needless human suffering, SPARK reiterates the ten requirements laid out by the Principles of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee to avoid an even worse catastrophe in Gaza.

Since 2010, SPARK and its network of partners throughout the Palestinian territories have been working to create employment opportunities for women and youth. Approximately, 4,900 women have received higher education, business and skills development support from SPARK’s programmes since then. 

Majd Khalifeh, CEO of Flow Accelerator, one of SPARK’s partners within the Palestinian entrepreneurship ecosystem, stated: “As organisations and individuals, it is our responsibility to amplify the entrepreneurs’ stories, offer support within our means, and acknowledge the complexities they face.”

Currently, SPARK’s work continues with the Palestine Launchpad programme with Google and Udacity, where we upskill young graduates within the tech sector through remote courses in Frontend Development, Coding and more. With these skills and matching services, we aim to secure jobs and financial stability for talented Palestinian women and men in the future.

On International Women’s Day this year, we stand in solidarity with Palestinian women and hope – very soon – to continue to bolster our support for women in rebuilding their lives and foster an inclusive recovery. 

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