Divorced Women in the Face of Oppression


“I raised the voice of the Palestinian women by uncovering the real oppression that divorced women face, I shared my story to break the chains of the society and the oppressive laws that consider divorced women issues a taboo”. Rania Al-Asbah stated during a workshop implemented by the Secretariat partner; Women’s Studies Centre (WSC) on February 24, 2016 entitled “I’m a human, Marriage, Divorce... Taboo.”   

There are certain familial, and societal discriminatory practices in Palestine that seriously limit divorced women’s freedom to seek work, education, participate in public life, and even remarry. There is little support to this segment of the Palestinian society, and the legal framework does not provide enough basis to protect divorced women. Human rights and their children, are relatively worse than women in general, in practical the socioeconomic rights of many divorced women.

The workshop was concluded by a number of recommendations to be taken into account by the WSC. Many participants emphasized on the urgent need to work on the laws that discriminate against divorced women, as well as creating systems and structures for legal protection of divorced women rights. The participants urged the WSC to look for new tools and procedures to better involve men in these discussions in order to guarantee successful impact of the work. Ways to solve the issue of early marriage and raising awareness regarding the responsibilities and obligations of the marriage life, were also visible in these recommendations.

 To inspire women to speak up and defend their rights, WSC developed short documentary film entitled: “The king and her”, which was displayed during the workshop.  The film contains featured stories of divorced women who were able to overcome obstacles created by their families, communities and the authorities. These women decided to share their stories in order to set an example, inspire and motivate other women who are facing the same situation to claim their rights and change their living conditions.

“We are not asking for anything but to be treated as human beings” one of the participants said during the discussion session. Many participants were clearly determined to pursue their journey in fighting for divorced women rights with the support of Human Rights and civil society organizations.

The Women’s Studies Centre is a human rights organization that actively promotes gender equality and women’s rights in the Palestinian society. Its work promotes social change, equality and justice in the midst of strong social and political oppression. The Women’s Studies Center aspires to achieve full equality between women and men in a democratic secular and independent Palestinian state which respects the freedom, dignity and human rights of all its citizens. The Center works towards developing, fostering and disseminating a progressive feminist discourse based on social justice and equality values, with the aim of empowering women to access and benefit from all societal resources available.

Ras Al-Tahouneh ST, near Al-Muqata'a
Al-Bireh, Palestine
Phone: 02 297 4563/4
Fax: 02 297 4565
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Tomouh Building (Jawwal), Al-Jala'
Gaza City, Palestine
Phone: 08 288 3115
Fax: 08 288 3114
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The views expressed in this publication
are those of the author(s) and do not
necessarily reflect the views of the
Secretariat, Niras NATURA AB, Birzeit University,
or the donor governments.