Showing their resilience, courage and desire to be part of the global movement calling for an end to violence against women, women in Gaza turned out in their hundreds to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on 25 November 2010 at an event organised by UNRWA in Gaza City.
As they entered the event, 750 women and men signed onto the Say No – UNiTE to End Violence Against Women Campaign. The signature campaign will continue across the Gaza Strip throughout the 16 days of activism to end gender-based violence in order to gather thousands more signatures.
Women then enjoyed performances of theatre, dance and poems on themes such as early marriage and domestic violence. Fatima (35) said: “Participation in the event gave me great psychological release and comfort, and the ability to forget about my circumstances at home.”
Sixty-year-old Reem said: “After participation in this event, I made a decision to prevent the early marriage of my granddaughter to avoid the negative effects it will have on her life.”
Also at the event, a photo exhibition, Photos by Women for Women – Documenting Women’s Lives in the Gaza Strip, 2010, was unveiled. The photos in the exhibition were taken by 30 women from different communities across the Gaza Strip, who were given basic digital cameras by UNRWA.
Portrait of hope
After a week of training with professional photographers, they went back to their communities to document their daily lives. The photos show a remarkable portrait of hope and strength amidst incredibly challenging circumstances.
In Gaza, UNRWA provides women with opportunities for economic empowerment, social and recreational activities and skills and capacity-building workshops. It also raises awareness of domestic violence and early marriage and trains professionals to enhance their support to women victims/survivors.
Equality in Action (PDF)
Say No to violence website
UNiTE to End Violence Against Women website