- Title: WEST BANK: Palestinian women forced to work due to economic hardships
- Date: 3rd October 2008
- Summary: VARIOUS OF NANA ABU OBAID, TV PRESENTER IN A LOCAL TV STATION ENTERING STUDIO WITH THE DIRECTOR PAN CAMERAMAN TO ABU OBAID PREPARING TO GO ON AIR (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) NANA ABU OBAID, TV PRESENTER, SAYING: "Because of the economic situation that we face in Jenin due to the Israeli siege and the security situation, I was obligated to go out and work, especially since my father is elderly and works in selling vegetables. I have three brothers in university and I am also a student in Al Quds Open University. So he cannot afford to educate the three of us together." NANA ON THE LOCAL TV STATION "FARAH" CONTROL ROOM, ABU OBAID PRESENTING AND DIRECTOR DIRECTING THE PROGRAMME
- Embargoed: 18th October 2008 13:00
- Topics: Fashion,Economic News
- Reuters ID: LVA6B4JTRVX3K9LBHAGWGY9BD59S
- Story Text: More and more Palestinian women are being forced to work for long hours with minimal pay to help feed their families as the economic situation in the West Bank worsens.
With Palestinian men finding it harder to find jobs due to Israeli restrictions and sanctions, women are leaving their traditional roles as housewives behind and working in markets and clothing shops.
Kadia Rushdi, who is in her sixties and works in a vegetable stall, is the sole breadwinner for her family since her son does not have a permit to work in Israel.
"Thank God, I support myself and I want to live. If I stay home, who will feed me? Nobody feeds anybody else," Rushdi says.
Many women with graduate degrees, who are settling for lower paying jobs and no employment law to protect them, are forced to work in order to help their families financially.
Kamilia Nazal, a graduate of al-Quds Open University says she could not find a job to match her degree and now works in a children's clothing shop.
"I was forced to work here for long working hours and low income.
There is no employment law to protect us as women who work in clothing shops or secretaries in offices. These are the only job opportunities offered to any woman," Nazal said.
Some Palestinian women have ignored traditional taboos on women leaving the home to work and are going out to find jobs in a predominantly male-oriented job market.
Mother of four, Khozima Obaid, who sews school uniforms, says that although her job is traditionally female-oriented, it is also a break from tradition.
"I feel that we are trapped in a large jail. The (economic) situation has forced the woman to go out and work even though society rejects the idea of a woman going out and working saying this is disrespectful and a sin. However our situation is hard and the (Palestinian) woman is living under siege," Obaid says.
"The percentage of women workers has increased in recent years.
This is of course because of the occupation. This has resulted in a woman being deprived from education because she prefers to work in order to help her family over completing her university education or the equivalent," says Iman Qassem, a member of the women's affairs department at the Palestinian workers' union.
For Palestinian women, the stress of the economic situation impacts them considerably with many women widowed or their husbands imprisoned, forcing them to work and support their families.
The World Bank estimates that 75 percent of Palestinians live on less than two U.S. dollars a day, forcing people to rely on charities for handouts, such as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
Nana Abu Obaid is a 20-year-old who works at the Farah local television station to help her father with university fees.
"Because of the economic situation that we face in Jenin due to the Israeli siege and the security situation, I was obligated to go out and work, especially since my father is elderly and works in selling vegetables. I have three brothers in university and I am also a student in al-Quds Open University. So he cannot afford to educate the three of us together," Abu Obaid says.
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