Palestinian women earn 27 percent less than their male counterparts on average, according to a report released by the Palestinian central bureau of statistics (PCBS) on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
According to the new statistics, the average daily wage for a woman in the West Bank and Gaza was NIS 83.3 compared to NIS 114.1 for men.
Dr. Fadwa al-Labadi, a women studies professor at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, gave three reasons for the large gender wage gap among Palestinians.
She said women are not given bonuses for husbands and children, while men are given bonuses relative to the size of their families.
She also said women are paid less by their employers, who believe their female employees are not the bread winners for their families.
Lastly, she said women with equal qualifications to their male counterparts were less likely to be promoted to higher paying positions.
A 2016 report by the International Labor Organization found that the wage gap among Palestinians decreased with university education attainment, from nearly 50% with just a high-school education, down to 13% with a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
However, educated Palestinian women are facing high unemployment. In 2015, according to the PCBS, women with 13 years of education had a 48% unemployment rate. The general unemployment rate in 2015 was 39.2% among women, and 22.5% among men.
Women are also underrepresented in the Palestinian work force, according to the Palestinian PCBS report. The female Palestinian participation rate in the labor force was 19.3%, while the male participation rate was 71.6%.
The female participation rate, however, has nearly doubled in the past 15 years, from 10.3% in 2001, to 19.3% in 2016.
Hanan Ashwari, who is the only woman in the 18-member Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said in a statement for Women’s Day that “The Palestinian woman is a basic partner in nation-building and in weaving a just social fabric in Palestine.”
She added: “She is also an authentic partner in safeguarding pluralism, democracy, social justice, and equality in compliance with the Palestinian Declaration of Independence that calls for ‘equal rights, free of ethnic, religious, racial or sexual discrimination.”
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