Longitudinal Study of the Lives of Palestinian Girls and Women in the Gaza Strip
This Project was Funded by UNRWA
UNRWA’s “Equality in Action” program is a comprehensive gender initiative designed to empower Palestinian girls and women in the Gaza Strip such that they are able to exercise their fundamental human rights and take advantage of opportunities for personal and professional development. “Equality in Action”, is a three year initiative, consisting of a series of projects, as well as targeted activities and gender mainstreaming activities. In 2008, the projects include the creation of social and recreational spaces for girls and women, the establishment of a community-based radio station, and tackle the issue of domestic violence.
A longitudinal research study was commissioned by the UNRWA Gender Initiative to:
- document the lives of Palestinian girls and women in the Gaza Strip, including their beliefs, values, goals, social participation, life situations, education; and
- to identify the nature and magnitude of changes in the lives of Palestinian girls and women in the Gaza Strip over a period of three years, taking into consideration the activities of the UNRWA Gaza Gender Initiative.
Scope and Topics
This study attempts to document the lives of Palestinian girls and women in the first year, in the Gaza Strip, to use as a base for comparison with the following years to enable the identification of change over the three year period.
The following types of data were gathered:
- basic demographics, such as gender, age, level of education, marital status, employment/livelihood, family size, and geographical location;
- knowledge and understanding of attitudes and beliefs on a range of issues, including (a) gender roles and responsibilities, (b) equality, (c) education, (d) violence, particularly domestic violence, (e) community/social participation and (f) the media.
Research Design: This study utilizes a participatory based research method, in which both quantitative and qualitative data are collected. Participatory based research is a commonly used method in which the participates fully engage in all aspects of the research process. This approach facilitates the engagement of a range of individuals, organizations and communities.
The outcome of the research process therefore, determines how the results should be used for action:
Literature Review and the Review of the Gender Initiative Projects
2. Study Design and Methodology : The study is divided into four stages (of which the preliminary stage is not included):
- Preliminary Stage : 15 Preliminary Focus Groups: 15 preliminary focus groups were conducted for the purpose of identifying key indicators for designing a survey.
Second Stage: Field Research Design and Data Collection : A survey of 1,200 women aged 16 years and older, in each of the five governorates of the Gaza Strip, was conducted. The women were randomly selected from different populations and housing districts (see table 2 for more detail) in the Gaza Strip. Six hundred men were also randomly selected from the chosen communities.
Third Stage: 15 Analytical Groups : Analytical groups were conducted to obtain an in-depth understanding of the key topics of the research, of the lives of Palestinian women in the Gaza Strip.
Fourth Stage: 17 Case Studies : Case studies were conducted to examine the key issues in the lives of Palestinian girls and women in detail.