Women’s economic empowerment – that is, their capacity to bring about economic change for themselves – is increasingly seen as one of
the most fundamental factors in generating sustainable economic growth, as well as being a contributing factor to achieving gender
UN Women has compiled a list of the many positive effects women's economic empowerment has on the social and economic advances
made by developed and developing countries around the world. The list is irrefutable evidence that a central component in global ambitions
to eradicate poverty, combat gender-inequality, improve children's access to education and healthcare, achieve peaceful resolutions
to conflict situations - to name just some of the target issues identified by the UN's seventeen Sustainable Development Goals - lies in the
economic empowerment of women.
This remains a key challenge in contemporary Palestine.
The "Fi Al Qiyadeh"-program
Each episode targeted a specific issue, and featured a guest invited to share professional and personal experience concerning, for example:
- the concept of leadership;
- problems faced by women wanting to start their own business;
- the legal, financial, economic and social climate in Palestine for starting businesses;
- ways of improving the environment and conditions for women entrepreneurs
The photo above is from a workshop hosted by Radio Nisaa FM 11 August 2015 in connection with the program. Ministers, academics, and representatives from leading women's rights NGOs, who had participated in the program, were invited to come and share their ideas and discuss future challenges and opportunities for women entrepreneurs in Palestinian society.
Participants included representatives from:
- The Palestinian Business Women's Association (ASALA)
- The Ministry of Women Affairs (MoWa)
- The Ministry of National Economy
- The Roles for Social Change Association (ADWAR)
- The Arab Center for Agricultural Development (ACAD)
- Founders of several prospering businesses founded by Palestinian women
Palestinian women in statistics
According to the latest research carried out by Samia al-Botmeh, Policy Advisor at Al-Shabaka (The Palestinian Policy Network), Palestinian women have one of the lowest rates of labor participation in the world (19.4% compared to 25% in the Arab region, and 51% in the rest of the world). This is despite being better educated than males in the entire Middle East and North Africa.
Entrepreneurship also remains low amongst Palestinian women, and has stagnated in recent years. According to an annual PCBS (Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics) labor force survey, only 15% of Palestinian women are self-employed, a figure that stands in sharp contrast to the 65% of Palestinian women who say that they are willing to launch their own businesses.
A success story from the program
According to Duaa Awad, News Editor at Nisaa FM, one of the highlights of "Fi Al Qiyadeh" was represented by the story of a young women from the Palestinian city, Hebron. She started her career as a pharmacist in one of the local drugstores, but soon decided to found her own independent company selling and distributing medicine. Overcoming the many financial and social challenges in her way, the Hebron-native is today the proud owner of her own successful company - Siba Soap.