Written by

Faiza Ihsan

Faiza Ihsan is a writer of International Relations with a special focus on gender development and youth mobilization.


The Vulnerability of Women in the War on Gaza

Gaza has been engulfed in war for decades, killing, murdering, and displacing thousands of innocent civilians. This article aims to highlight the plight of women in Gaza. According to the UN report, around two-thirds of the people being killed in the war on Gaza are women and children. Women are suffering the most due to Israel’s persistent attacks on Gaza. This highlights that the problems faced by women in Gaza are a serious concern that calls for urgent measures.

Women already fighting and struggling for their basic rights and needs, are disproportionately affected by the havoc of war, which makes their vulnerability more profound. It exacerbates the already existing gender inequalities, making the situation more crucial to be addressed and resolved. Therefore, the advocation of women’s rights is imperative, both, in times of harmony and conflict.

Women are considered to be the fundamental figures, as they are the primary agents in society, both in producing and upbringing of generations. In Gaza, women, mothers, the architects of Palestine’s future are being targeted by Israeli forces. This leads to the eradication of the fabric of future generations. As per a UN report, 37 mothers are getting killed every day in Gaza. The story does not end here, women are even subjected to various forms of sexual violence, according to Al-Jazeera. A journalist named Hossam Shabat reported testimony from Al-Shifa Hospital explaining how a pregnant woman was being raped by Israeli forces infront of her family. This portrays the horrendous picture of how women are extremely unsafe in Gaza. Merely being a woman is costing them their lives, who otherwise play an essential role in the upbringing and guiding future generations. This exhibits far-reaching loss and destructive impacts of war that echo through society.

The brunt of healthcare systems during war is another aspect affecting women’s reproductive health. The provision of proper healthcare services are getting jeopardized leading to increased maternal mortality rates and affecting both mothers and infants. The report says that there are about 155,000 pregnant women in Gaza and about 5,500 women are expected to deliver next month without the provision of water, painkillers and other medical supplies. As there is a shortage of food, Women are starving themselves while providing food to their children. Access to basic food and health supplies has been scarce in Gaza, forcing mothers into the sacrificing mode and making difficult choices for the survival and safety of their children.

Menstrual hygiene is another factor that highlights the vulnerability of women in the war on Gaza. The difficulties being faced by them include inadequate access to sanitation facilities which affects their menstrual health. Hind Khoudary, a Palestinian journalist, has shared her personal story at Andalou Agency regarding the plethora of problems faced as a woman, especially while on her period. She had to visit most supermarkets in order to find sanitary pads, most women do not even afford the privilege to do so. There is a scarcity of clean water, sanitary pads, and private spaces that can contribute to increased health risks and discomfort. According to RAFAH, Palestinian Territories (AFP), Women on periods in Gaza face humiliating conditions and infections. After more than two months of war, they are forced to use diapers, cut pieces of cloth from tents or use rags which are causing them skin infections. There is shortage of food, water and sanitary products across Gaza. During the aggression, around 80% of its 2.4 million people have been displaced. Women are taking Ibuprofen pills as women lack access to sanitary products so they seek to control their periods instead. ActionAid International said, there was little water for washing, and that some shelters had only one shower for every 700 people and one toilet for every 150. Access to water and toilets are basic necessities not luxuries for women on their periods as menstruation does not stop during war.

During wars like the one in Gaza, the collapse of the fabric of society can leave women without sufficient support systems, isolated and vulnerable. UN Women report reveals that the conflict has already resulted in around 1 million women and girls being displaced from their homes and has produced a growing number of widows. The fact that men are the major breadwinner and providers for their families, widowed women have an uncertain future ahead of them if any at all. It is imperative to ensure immediate access to services for women and girls and ensure the prevention of gender-based violence. Even before the beginning of the current conflict, the situation in Gaza was nothing less than distressful, with 97% of men and 98% of women fearing for their safety and wellbeing. Depression levels among women and men were high due to unemployment and a deep sense of persistent hopelessness.

This is a call for the feminists of the world to come out against the atrocities committed in Gaza. Why is the feminist sentiment stirred only when it comes to saving women from Taliban, Hezbollah or Hamas, but not from the US or Israeli government? It is the need of an hour to stop this hypocrisy and unanimously call for an end to these atrocities.

The two-third population of the Palestinian women is being robbed of their basic rights, which is ultimately affecting the global feminist movement. The concept of gender justice is getting sabotaged but then why aren’t we witnessing a tantamount reaction to it? Greta Thunberg, a young climate activist, talked about the horrors taking place in Gaza and said that there is no climate justice without justice for Palestine. This kind of advocacy is needed from the feminist community of the world to realize the urgency of the issue and address it as a prime concern.

The barbarity unfolding in Gaza is a monstrous illustration of the atrocities that Israel has repeatedly denied or projected onto Palestinians. These are war crimes being committed with sickening impunity, under the watch of a largely impotent international community. Women in Gaza are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in order to get access to basic needs for their healthcare, especially pregnant women. They need access to anesthesia and other medical supplies for the insurance of smoother delivery procedures. Therefore, there must be an urgent and binding humanitarian ceasefire.

This is a call to the global feminist movement and the associated organizations and individuals: this is the time to show solidarity!


  1. It is a hypocritic world. And all European and American are leader of this heinous act

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