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21 April 2009

Voicing the Needs of Women and Men in Gaza: Beyond the Aftermath of the 23-Day Israeli Military Operations

Date: 21 April 2009

The UN Gender Task Force launched today a household survey concerning the impacts, needs and perceptions of men and women in the aftermath of the 23-day military offensive launched by Israel in December 2008. The survey was conducted through face-to-face interviews with 1,100 adult men and women across the Gaza Strip in the first week of March, 2009.

Key findings include:

  • Psychological trauma and stress are consistently rated as a main concern by respondents regardless of gender, region or social group. Psychosocial services are expressed as critical a need as the basic need of food and water. With increased trauma and stress and limited access to professional psychosocial services, there is a rising problem of self-medication with unsupervised pharmaceutical therapies among the Gaza population.
  • Both male and female respondents express the same high level of concern over domestic violence as they do towards political violence. 37% of women cite domestic violence as the primary safety problem facing women and girls in their communities, while more than 50% of men cite public and political violence as the main safety and security problem facing men and boys.
  • The highest perceived rise in domestic violence against women is among households displaced by the war and in the southern Gaza Strip where there is also the highest level of perception of an increase in domestic violence against children.
  • Displaced women (16%) are more likely than other women to say they felt unsafe using a bathing or latrine facility and also cited a greater lack of reliable sanitary materials (12%).
  • 39% of all women surveyed cite distance as the main obstacle to women and girls getting access to health care.
  • Approximately 20% of households say that boys' needs are prioritized when there is a food shortage. Elderly men and women are the most vulnerable household members at risk of not getting an adequate distribution of food in a situation of food shortage and the most vulnerable to forced prioritisation.
  • While 60% of respondents claim to have received food aid since the end of the war, about half of the recipients express dissatisfaction with the assistance received.
  • 85% of men and 88% of women report that they have not been involved in any consultation on the planning or design of the humanitarian assistance in their community.

    “This survey is instrumental for facilitating and supporting humanitarian efforts to address the concerns of women and men affected by the last Israeli military incursion in the Gaza Strip,” said Alia El Yassir, a UNIFEM representative.

    For more information, please contact Ekci Suyapno, unifem.opts[at], +972 (0) 547487116 

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