18 Palestinian women aged between 18 and 40 are involved in an innovative start-ups project financed by the Generalitat Valenciana and the City Council of Valencia. The project, with an investment of more than 425,000 euros, aims to promote projects led by women entrepreneurs to facilitate access to the labour market on an equal footing.
The project developed by Alianza por la Solidaridad together with its local partners and financed by the Directorate General of Cooperation and Solidarity of the Generalitat Valenciana and the City Council of Valencia, seeks to promote the access of Palestinian women to the market formal work, becoming protagonists of their own economic empowerment process
In a first phase, 18 projects have been selected, out of the more than 70 that were presented, that have gone to the incubation phase, where they are receiving training in different subjects, from English or marketing to accounting, which will subsequently help them implement your business idea. According to UN Women, only 3.5% of Working-age Palestinian women have managed to start their own business compared to 16% of men. In 2014 there were only about 7,000 businesses run by women
The different projects have as a common denominator their basis in a technological and innovative component: from online stores to facilitate the sale of artisanal products to the development of apps to translate into sign language or help to express themselves to people with Autism. The objective is to contribute to the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, promote technological and sustainable growth sectors to create jobs, attract foreign investment and improve the situation within Palestine, especially for women
"Precisely increasing the job opportunities of vulnerable women, as is the case with survivors of gender-based violence who are also involved in this project, is key to having alternatives to increase their limited economic autonomy, an opportunity to be able to control incomes and end a situation of dependence on their own abuser" underlined Eva Moreno Anadón, head of mission Alliance for Solidarity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
After 50 years of occupation, economic trends show that the economy is declining. According to the World Bank, the Palestinian economy continues to suffer from the impact of the wars of recent years in Gaza, and 25.8% of the population lives below the poverty line. The youth unemployment rate in Palestine is one of the highest in the world, in particular the job inactivity rate for young women is 64%. Similarly, women's participation in the formal economy is very low, at 19.1% compared to 25% in the Arab region, and 51% in the rest of the world, which does not fit with high school enrolments and lower dropout rates compared to men. The unemployment rate for women has risen in recent years to 39.2%.
The project is carried out together with PICTI, the first Palestinian incubator of non-profit information and communication technologies, and WATC, an organization that has been supporting women's rights for years. The experience of both organizations, together with the Alliance for Solidarity, will enable address the specific difficulties affecting the performance of women entrepreneurs or women accessing private sector jobs in conditions of discrimination.