Across the Middle East region, Christian Aid partners will be raising awareness about the challenges facing women in their societies. Here’s a snapshot of some of their activities, and the vital work they do to promote equal rights for women.
Mind the Gap: Migrant workers rights in Israel
In 1991 Israel signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Yet 20 years on, there is still a gap between the promise of CEDAW and the reality for women migrant workers in Israel.
Christian Aid partner Kav LaOved exist to challenge this gap. Their report, released on the 8 March, will highlight areas like employment, healthcare, motherhood and freedom from violence, where migrant workers have few rights, and even fewer choices.
Locked in: Palestinian women in Israeli jails
Addameer, a Palestinian political prisoners’ support organisation, will be holding a silent vigil to remember women political prisoners in Israeli jails. Photos and profiles of each prisoner will be displayed, highlighting those that have been subjected to prolonged detention without trial or charge.
It will also be calling on people to sign a petition to the Israeli government, asking them to free political prisoners, end detention without trial, and meet its obligations under international humanitarian law to ensure the needs of women in prison are met.
Another Christian Aid partner will also be standing up for the rights of these prisoners. Volunteers from 12 countries which have taken part in the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel will publish articles in the media about this, and other difficulties facing Palestinian women under occupation.
Marching for equality
The Palestinian Centre for Peace and Democracy will be challenging its own government representatives in the northern town of Jenin, in the West Bank.
Volunteers will be marching to the premises of the Palestinian parliament in Jenin to demand new national elections, with a fixed quota of 30% women parliamentarians. Alongside this, PCPD will be running workshops across the West Bank, training women about their rights under international legislation, such as UN resolution 1325 and CEDAW.
Gaza: not just a song and dance
The Women’s Affairs Centre in the Gaza Strip encourages, trains and equips women to play a role in society. Recognised for their excellence in the arts, WAC will be using the talents of their members to put on plays, poetry readings, films and singing related to women’s rights in Gaza.
Volunteers at the centre will also have a chance to display their entrepreneurial skills, exhibiting crafts, food products and other hand-made materials. This work is a result of the centre’s loan and training programme which helps women to start up successful businesses.
Egypt: Standing on the edge of change
Egyptian women have clearly shown the world that they have a voice: and they plan to use this voice to bring about radical change in their country.
Christian Aid partner Better Life is working to empower local people in marginalised communities. After training women on how to claim their rights, one village successfully lobbied the government to put on literacy classes.
Along the banks of the Nile, Better Life is organising events to mark this success and others on International Women’s Day, and to equip women to deal with the current political crisis facing their country.