Report – Condemned to Unemployment: East Jerusalem Women Struggle for Integration into the Labor Market

At the East Jerusalem Employment Bureau, May 2017


Little has been written about the workforce participation of the Palestinian women in East Jerusalem (EJ). The present report has had its origin in a long-term struggle by the Workers Advice Center (WAC-MAAN, henceforth WAC) against the chronic poverty in this part of the city. In the course of our effort, we have come to see a direct relation between that low participation and the poverty. Most EJ women want to work, but they face huge obstacles. The present report discusses the obstacles. Removing these would be a lifeline to the women and their families. The report includes conversations with WAC’s female activists, known as Rights Propagators, who speak about their harsh living conditions, the obstacles, and their search for solutions.

The 315,900 Palestinians of East Jerusalem (henceforth EJ) are living at the heart of a violent conflict, which started for them with the capture of EJ in 1967 and its annexation by Israel. Ever since, this Palestinian population has lived in a disastrous social and economic situation that continues to deteriorate. One of the most downplayed issues concerns the everyday lives of the women, who are condemned to unemployment, poverty and lack of control over their lives.

We at WAC encounter increasing numbers of EJ women who refuse to accept their situation. They are fighting to enter the labor market in order to improve the lives of their families and to save them from being forced to leave the city.

(Unless otherwise stated, all the statistics refer to residents of EJ.)

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אודות Wac-Maan