To our very dear friends,
We all stand hours away from the year 2021, and we are sure that you are all reflecting as we are on the global catastrophic health, economic, social and psychological effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the consequences of which have been particularly devastating for women around the world. Rates of gender-based violence have increased in light of the lack of protection in already weakened justice systems in many countries, and in light of the continuing conflicts, occupations, wars, racism and sexist systems and militarism, all of which pose great challenges to women, especially refugee women, who like refugee women in Gaza and else where in Palestine and in the Arab region, are dealing with the effects of displacement while also dealing with crowded conditions which make social distancing all but impossible and in cases of abusive households, leave women trapped with their abusers.
Within this context, in 2020 the Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development (PWWSD) continued its mandate as an independent feminist human rights organization to empower Palestinian women to confront all the violations they face by discriminatory legal system under a patriarchal society, both exacerbated by and in place because of over 70 years of the prolonged Israeli colonial occupation.
Starting the year 2020, PWWSD implemented an emergency plan in anticipation of the stay-at-home order issued by the Palestinian Authority in March, grounded on its grassroots bodies that it had established over the past years, including unions for kindergarten workers, women's cooperatives, youth forums and women's shadow councils in local government, all across 80 locations. Through these locations, PWWSD offered psychosocial and legal counseling support including telephone counseling, providing relief assistance, strengthening the agricultural and home economic activities and encouraging women working in these sectors as well as those engaging in emergency committees. At the end of the year, PWWSD provided professional advice and developed the capacities of eight civil society institutions. This intervention resulted in the development of 8 gender-responsive emergency plans.
PWWSD also continued its work in the field of combating gender-based violence, empowering women and young women to participate in politics, contributing to the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda and economic empowerment. PWWSD is also proud of the studies, films, training guides and media materials released in contribution to the development of feminist literature and to the development of advocacy and pressure tools for the achievement of freedom, equality and justice within the Palestinian context.
The management of PWWSD is pleased to extend its sincere gratitude to all partner institutions, national, regional and international, for joining our efforts to advocate and support the rights of Palestinian women as indivisible from the rights of the Palestinian people as a whole.
We would also like to point out that the ability to face challenges and transform some of these challenges into opportunities and paths toward a positive change in the lives of women came as a result of the conscious commitment of PWWSD’s teams throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and its willingness and vigilance in responding to the priorities of women and young women and empowering them to be leaders for a better society.
Finally, allow us to present to you here a sample of our work in various fields, including short films that reflect the voices, priorities, demands and hope of Palestinian women as well as research studies and analysis on the rights of Palestinian women, their aspirations and the Sumood they are exhibiting in these difficult times.
Happy new year from the PWWSD team,