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The Democracy and Workers Rights Center (DWRC) and its partner organizations organize a policy dialogue session on fostering the rights of women with disabilities in the world of work

Ramallah, 30/05/2024 – The Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center, in cooperation with EducAid, and in coordination with the National Coalition for Advocating for Women’s Right to Decent Work, the “My Right” Coalition, implemented on May 29, 2024, a policy dialogue session on the rights of women with disabilities in the world of work, which aimed at highlighting the opportunities and challenges facing women with disabilities, how to improve their employment opportunities, and the importance of supporting official bodies and society in providing decent and safe job opportunities to women with disabilities. Among the session’s recommendations participants addressed the need to activate the existing governmental programs to develop the work environment for all types and levels of disability; for the General Personnel Council to mandate governmental institutions to develop facilitating measures to help persons with disabilities to access job opportunities and then carry out related tasks; developing the transportation system and ensuring that persons with disabilities can access training and rehabilitation centers, and workplaces; work to provide more detailed information about the status of persons with disabilities and their employment; raise community awareness to create an inclusive culture of people with disabilities; inclusion of persons with disabilities in cooperatives; harmonize the legislation, policies, and programs in line with the needs of people with disabilities.

Media researcher, Ms. Lubna Al-Ashqar, opened the session by stating that the participation rate of women with disabilities in the Palestinian labor market, does not exceed 4%. Ms. Hadeel Shehadeh, from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, addressed challenges facing women with disabilities in relation to employment in the private sector including law wages, and the public sector including the weak capabilities of governmental institutions in dealing with various forms of disabilities. She said: “it is important to address gaps in relation to absence of enabling measures that allow persons with disabilities to perform their duties at work, which negatively reflect on their ability to qualify for certain benefits and promotions”. She added: “in 2022, there were 1,055 female and male governmental employees with disabilities, but that there are no women with disabilities in senior positions”.

Mrs. Abeer Hamad, representative of the Star Mountain Rehabilitation Center, spoke about the most important obstacles and challenges facing persons with disabilities in different life aspects, and shared through a video successful experiences related to vocational rehabilitation and employment of persons with mental disabilities, including women, in Palestinian factories, and employers’ positive evaluation of their employees. Mrs. Lama Awad, Head of the Gender Unit at the Ministry of Labor and Rapporteur of the National Committee for Women’s Employment, began her intervention by stressing “the necessity of working with the General Personnel Bureau and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics to provide detailed data about persons with disabilities, especially women with disabilities, employed in the governmental sector, and to work in a participatory manner and through complementary roles” and involve the private sector in creating jobs for persons with disabilities. She presented the most important obstacles and challenges facing governmental departments in developing policies and systems to protect and integrate persons with disabilities, as well as the challenges facing persons with disabilities in the public sector. She indicated that there is progress fostering access to job opportunities in the governmental sector through allocating special jobs and advertisements for persons with disabilities. She talked about the creation of a National Technical and Vocational Education and Training Commission (NTC) and pointed to the opportunity to provide comments and suggestions to be included in its system and policies to ensure the activation of its role in supporting access and integration of people with disabilities in education and vocational training. Ms. Nibal Abu Hijleh, Director of the Lending Department at the Palestinian Employment Fund, said: “the Fund’s role and programs aimed at creating job opportunities and fostering professional development and self-employment through providing grants and soft loans”. She added: “we have specific mechanism for supporting the income-generating projects of persons with disabilities”.Mr. Ibrahim Burnat from EducAid gave a brief introduction about the organization, its activities, and its programs in support of persons with disabilities. Then, Ms. Amira Abu Arqoub and Ms. Walaa Al-Jamal, two women with disabilities, talked about their successful experiences of working for the organization, the challenges and obstacles they faced, and the mechanism for overcoming them.

This event is part of the project: “Gender Equality in the Economic Sphere: Our Right, Our Priority”, which is implemented by DWRC in partnership with Italian NGOs, COSPE and EducAid, and the Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development (PWWSD), and is funded by the European Union.

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