Facts and Figures: Economic Empowerment

  • Palestinian women account for 17.4 % of the formal labour force (14.7 % in the Gaza Strip; 18.9 % in the West Bank) compared to 69.1 % for men, one of the lowest levels of labour force participation in the world. They account for 20.9% of the formal labour force in rural communities; 16.8% in urban communities and 15.7% in refugee camps [1].
  • 32.9% of Palestinian women are unemployed (25.3% in the West Bank; 50.1% in the Gaza Strip), compared to 20.5% of Palestinian men (17.3% in the West Bank; 26.8% in the Gaza Strip). In 10 years, women’s overall unemployment rate has almost doubled, from 17% in 2002 to 32.9% in 2012, while for men the rate has decreased from 33.5% to 20.5% over the same time period [2].
  • 42.1% of Palestinian women in refugee camps are unemployed, as compared to 26.4% among their male counterparts, and 34.6% and 23.6% among rural and urban Palestinian women respectively [3].
  • Young Palestinian women are particularly affected by unemployment with 62.2% of women below 25 years of age being unemployed, compared with 34.5% of young men in the same age category [4].
  • The minimum monthly wage was set at NIS 1,450 by the Palestinian Government in 2012 [5].
  • The average daily wage received by women is USD 21.3, representing 86% of that of men [6].
  • 81.7% of employed women are concentrated in two economic sectors: 58% in services (52.4% in the West Bank; 76.4% in Gaza) and 23.7% in agriculture (25.6% in the West Bank; 17.5% in Gaza) compared to 31.7% and 8.9% respectively among men [7].
  • 1.4% of employed women work in Transportation, Storage & Communication and Construction sectors (compared to 24.9% of among men) [8].
  • 24.6% of working women work as unpaid family members (compared to 5.5% for men) [9].


[1] Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Labour Force Survey: Annual Report 2012, April 2013. Table 19

[2] Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Labour Force Survey: Annual Report 2012, April 2013.

[3] Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Labour Force Survey: Annual Report 2012, April 2013. Table 19

[4] Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Labour Force Survey: Annual Report 2012, April 2013.

[5] The Palestinian Minimum Wage Law was issued by the PA Council of Minister in October 2012 and became effective on 1 January 2013

[6] Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Labour Force Survey: Annual Report 2012, April 2013. Table 42

[7] Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Labour Force Survey: Annual Report 2012, April 2013. Table 32

[8] Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Labour Force Survey: Annual Report 2012, April 2013. Table 30

[9] Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Labour Force Survey: Annual Report 2012, April 2013. Table 28