Business climate for women in occupied Palestinian territory
Small businesses contribute significantly to productive employment, income generation, and innovation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). Yet women-owned cooperatives face structural weaknesses related to the prevailing patriarchal culture.
The SDG Fund programme supports women-owned businesses. The women’s unemployment rate is one of the highest in the region, and the entrepreneurship rate is amongst the lowest in the world. It focuses entirely on women-owned businesses, whether start-ups or existing ones, to enable them to increase their incomes and become self-sustaining.
The approach is based on positive discrimination in favour of women’s economic empowerment. It targets women in 4 key sectors: agriculture, services, textile and clothing, and interior design. The aim is to:
- Create opportunities for decent jobs and secure livelihoods
- Create better government policies and fair and accountable public institutions
- Promote inclusive and sustainable business practices
Programme sustainability is expected to be achieved at 2 levels. At the enterprise level, selected women-owned businesses will gain the necessary skills and knowledge to become sustainable and independent. They will also move from the informal to the formal sector by receiving the necessary technical and legal support needed.
At the institutional level, a one-stop-shop will be established to provide long term support for women-owned businesses. Environmental sustainability is also integrated, where traditional Palestinian products are preserved, recycled and recreated into new modern marketable products.
Working closely with the private sector, the largest employer in oPt, the programme will promote gender equality and build strong connections between all relevant authorities.
Total programme budget: $3 million
% funded by SDG-F: 50%
UN agencies: UN Women, FAO and ITC
National partners: Government ministries, the Chambers of Commerce, women’s cooperatives and private companies.
Duration: December 1, 2014 to March 31, 2017
1 in 4 households in the oPt are classified as food secure.
17.4% of women participated in the work force in 2012, compared to 69.1% of men.
5.6% of employed persons worked for female entrepreneurs in 2011.