This program is one of the most important tools utilized by the Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development to achieve its first strategic objective. It is implemented under several specific objectives:
- To raise women’s awareness of their political, civic, and legal rights and develop their capacity to defend these rights and embody them in their private and public life. Educational activities that take the form of adult educational lectures and workshops for woman and young woman are among the main activities of the program, as well as study circles and experience exchanges between women’s groups locally, regionally, and globally. The program conducts training courses to develop women’s knowledge, to change the gender stereotypes, and to build woman’s leadership capacities. In addition, women are organized in community-based organizations (CBOs), lending and saving groups and cooperatives, with the idea of enhancing women’s economic roles as an advanced form of empowerment. Working women are organized in syndicates and trade unions in order to stress the protection of their rights and enhance the role of these bodies in advocating working women rights. The organization has organized kindergarten and private school workers in syndicates, which formed a workers union for those working in this sector, and gives special attention to female members of local authorities and other decision-making circles in order to provide them with the needed support. A remarkable success in this field is the establishment of shadow councils as a support structure for elected women within local councils, as well as monitoring the performance of the local authorities to underline their commitment to the principles of gender equality and respect of women’s rights.
- To mobilize women to participate in public activities in order to enhance their role in the national and social struggle. The program works in lobbying decision-makers to fulfill their moral and legal obligations towards women’s rights and the principles of gender equality. Decision-makers and public policy leaders are targeted through the following activities:
The program works in organizing open panels and workshops to highlight issues related to women’s rights in general, such as social protection, women’s rights in the applied laws, participation in decision-making processes, elections, and gender equality within the various aspects of community life. The program is active within several local, regional, and global networks and coalitions to achieve the objectives of the lobbying and advocacy campaigns. On a related level, the program also arranges lobbying and advocacy campaigns to eliminate violence against women and provide women with protection within the Palestinian basic laws and all other laws, particularly national Penalty and Personal Status laws. The program also organizes individual and collective meetings with decision-makers and participates in developing national plan to enhance women’s rights and gender equality in partnership with various concerned governmental and non- governmental organizations.
- To empower women economically through increasing women’s participation in the labor market.
To achieve this objective, activities to combat poverty and unemployment among women are arranged and women are organized in syndicates and trade unions. Additionally, the program works on developing woman’s capacities in the field of managing income-generating projects. Women’s capacities in the field of establishing cooperatives are enhanced. PWWSD works on widening the marketing scope of women’s products in order to increase income from such projects. On the level of lobbying and advocacy, those in authority are lobbied to provide protection for women’s products. PWWSD advocates the recognition of women’s work inside the home (domestic labor), making it imperative to grant women social protection and insurances related to decent work. In this regard, PWWSD is a member in the National Committee for the Employment of Women.
PWWSD also contributes to covering the educational tuition of some students, and priority is given to those from families where women are the primary income-providers. The organization also works in building community centers, a pioneering idea through which the organization provides physical space for women to meet, socialize, and discuss issues. The community centers provide women with all the necessary facilities to enhance their development and improve their quality of life. Currently, PWWSD has community centers in Gaza, Nablus, Tulkarem, Bethlehem, and Yatta, in which a number of the organization’s activities, largely aimed at women, are implemented. However, in special circumstances, the community centers are are also open to young men, children, and families. Marginalized young men and children are targeted through the community centers in order to raise awareness of their rights and women’s rights. This increases the sensitivity of the local community to issues relating to gender. Moreover, several cultural and social activities are conducted through the community centers for women and children, such as film screenings, readings, drama performance and providing access to the internet. The program provides legal services and pleads for women in courts with regard to worker’s rights, personal status and inheritance issues to promote women’s access to justice.