Facts and Figures: Leadership and Political Participation

Women’s political participation

  • Women hold 3 out of 24 ministerial level posts in the current Palestinian cabinet (Minister of Women’s Affairs; Minister of Social Affairs; Minister of Culture), a drop from 21% in the previous government to 12.5% [1]. In Gaza, there is only 1 woman minister, who is the Minister of Women’s Affairs [2].
  • Only 12.9% of national parliamentarians are women (12.3% in the West Bank; 15.9% in the Gaza Strip) as of 25 January 2006, date of the last elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) [3]. During the PLC elections in 2006, women accounted for 11.2% of the candidates (4.3% among local candidates; 16.9% among candidates running on national political lists) and 46% of the voters [4].
  • 65 women hold a seat in the Palestinian National Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) [5], accounting for 8% of the total number of members of the Council; 10 are members of the PLO Central Committee; and 1 woman out of 18 members sits at the PLO’s Executive Committee [6].
  • Article (4) of the Law on Public Legislative Elections of 2005 guarantees the representation of women in electoral lists, while Article (17) of the Palestinian Law on Local Council Elections guarantees that women hold 20% of seats in local bodies. The quota regime does not apply to camp committees in refugee camps, which do not participate in local elections (9.3% of the population).
  • The numbers of seats hold by women in local councils increased from 18% in 2010 to 21.4% (1,205 out of 5,629) in the 2012 local councils’ elections, which were only held in the West Bank end of 2012 [7].


Women in public positions

  • 40.5% of the public sector posts are occupied by women, most of them in medium-low level positions. At the end of 2012, women held 47% of the lower-level positions in the administration and 22% of the Director level positions, but only 11% of the General Director posts [8].
  • 4.3% of Palestinian Ambassadors of the Palestine Liberation Organization are women [9].
  • Women account for 15% of judges, 19.5% of prosecutors and 32.5% of lawyers [10].
  • On average, women represent 16.25% of the members in the top leadership of the political factions of Fatah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Palestine Democratic Union (FIDA) [11].
  • Women represent 26.8% of the members of the student councils of Palestinian universities and academic institutes [12].


[4] Central Elections Commission (2006). Report of the second legislative elections January 25, 2006. Ramallah: Palestine.

[5] The Palestinian National Council is the legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organization, representing Palestinian people inside Palestine and in the Diaspora.

[6] UN Women, Birzeit University (2013), Building Ties: Towards Integrated Strategies & Policies for Empowering Palestinian Women, 2014. Unpublished.

[8] Data from 2012 from the Palestinian General Personnel Council

[10] Data from 2012 from the Palestinian Bar Association’s Women’s Lawyer’s Network

[11] Palestinian National Authority (2011), Cross-Sectoral National Gender Strategy 2011-2013. Ramallah: Palestine