GAZA Lack of womens participation an obstacle to recovery and peace

 West Bank and Gaza
 Emergency Response
 9th Oct 2014

RAMALLAH/JERUSALEM, 09 October 2014: Increased participation by Palestinian women is crucial to creating a process towards peacefully resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and bringing sustainable development to the West Bank and Gaza, according to international humanitarian organization CARE.

CARE calls on the hosts and co-chairs of the Cairo International Conference on Palestine: “Reconstructing Gaza” and the Palestinian Government of National Consensus (PGNC) to ensure women’s equal participation and full involvement at the conference and in the reconstruction of Gaza, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

“Women have the right to equal participation and it is crucial that this right be realized in order for women to convey their particular concerns, knowledge and ideas for how their communities may enter the path of peace and sustainable development. With all the international efforts that have gone into trying to resolve this conflict, it is high time that the potential role of women is appreciated” says René Celaya, country director of CARE in the West Bank and Gaza.

As plans are drawn up for reconstruction in Gaza, gender and women's participation must be factored in from the start. War affects women, men, boys and girls in different ways. The recent crisis, as well as longer-term impacts of conflict, and traditional social dynamics, further limits the social space for women, having a negative impact on women's health and vulnerability to violence in particular. These issues must be addressed with the participation of women themselves. Women need to be part of the way forward and their voices heard in identifying priorities, implementing programmes, monitoring and evaluating progress.

CARE recommends that the Palestinian Government of National Consensus[1] and donors come together in increasing the support for civil society organizations that are able to enhance the range of social, economic and political roles of women in Palestinian society in general and in reconstructing Gaza in particular.

You can find more information about CARE's work in West Bank and Gaza here.

Media contact: Sandra Bulling, bulling@careinternational.org, +41 79 205 6951

CARE West Bank and Gaza: CARE’s works with local partners in Gaza to provide emergency medical services through mobile health clinics, including to pregnant women, distribute hygiene kits and coordinate security information for aid agencies. As part of the efforts to rebuild Gaza, CARE will assist people recover and develop their livelihoods. CARE’s long term development programs assist Palestinian communities achieve economic empowerment and greater gender equity by providing sustainable livelihood opportunities, with a particular focus on the participation of women and youth.

[1] The PGNC’s “The National Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan for Gaza 2014” already recognizes the economic role and potential of women and youth in the reconstruction by noting that the “Government will implement a series of interventions under the umbrella of an Agricultural Support Program (ASP). These interventions will provide assistance to small farmers and households who have been affected by the assault on Gaza. ASP will provide an important source of economic security to disadvantaged women and youth.”

In alignment with UN Resolution 1325’s recognition of “[t]he special needs of women and girls during repatriation and resettlement and for rehabilitation, reintegration and post-conflict reconstruction”, the PGNC plan also addresses particular risks to women in a post conflict situation by stating in section 4.1.1. that the “[p]rotection for women against gender-based violence (GBV) will be increased through multiple interventions, including a rapid assessment, mapping of available services for women and girls, strengthening of protection resources (e.g., safe places, protection committees, and referral pathways), and awareness raising amongst women and their community about GBV and specialized services.”

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