RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Some 37 percent of Palestinian women were exposed to violence by their husbands in 2011, says a new study revealed on International Women's Day.
The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics says the highest percentage of the phenomenon was reported in Gaza, where 58.1 percent of women were subject to violence by their husbands.
The Ramallah and Al Bireh district witnessed the lowest rates of domestic violence against women for 2011, with 14.2 percent of wives exposed to violence.
International Women’s Day is a national holiday in Palestine, which has a population of around 2 million women.
PCBS revealed that in 2012, literacy rates among Palestinian women have risen but are still lower than men's literacy rates.
Men's participation in the labor force is four times that of women while women's daily wages are 16 percent lower than men's.
Unemployment rates among women have risen by over 15 percent over the last decade, reaching 28.4 percent in 2011.
UN Women notes that women's participation in the labor force in Palestine is among the lowest in the world, particularly in rural areas.
Many women are employed in the agricultural sector on an informal basis, and UN Women is focusing efforts on enhancing rural women's economic security and rights.
The UN agency is cooperating with the Palestinian Authority Education Ministry in a project funded by Norway to support 200 female entrepreneurs who prepare and sell subsidized healthy meals to 70,000 school children.
In a message to mark International Women's Day, UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet noted that rural women and girls comprise one in four people worldwide yet they faced "some of the worst inequities in access to social services and land and other productive assets."
Rural women work long hours with little or no pay to produce a large proportion of the food grown to sustain their families, communities and nations, Bachelet said.
"No enduring solution to the major changes of our day—from climate change to political and economic instability—can be solved without the full empowerment and participation of the world’s women. We simply can no longer afford to leave women out."