To highlight the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament, the Palestinian Center for Peace and Democracy (PCPD), along with a group of young women from different regions of the West Bank, conducted a series of activities promoting women's role in politics and their rights, which took place on May 23rd and 24th 2015.
The Women's Political Tour started on May 23rd in Bardalah, a marginalized village in the Jordan Valley. In Bardalah, 4 women have recently decided to get involved actively in the public life and took take part in the village council, representing 80% of the members of the council. While the Ministry of Local Government still needs to accept this amazing change, the citizens of Bardalah have showed a tremendous support to the initiative and stand behind these women, strongly believing in their capacities to better address the women of the village's demands and needs. On May 23rd, 15 women and 5 men participated in the awareness session led by PCPD, where discussions were held on LaHaye advisor opinion and international conventions pertaining to women's rights, particularly CEDAW.
The group of young women then visited Jenin, where 2 Palestinian women who lived the Nakbah shared their experience, their challenges and obstacles they've been facing since 1948. They provided the 35 participating women and youth a testimony of their stories and hardships. One woman in particular brought the key and the ownership paper from the home she cannot go back to, and told the women about her sons, one who became a martyr and one who is currently imprisoned. After the discussion session, the PCPD team visited a primary school, met with the students, discussed with them the meaning of the Palestinian identity and struggle. With their help, they then planted an olive tree, symbol of the Palestinian resistance and attachment to the land.
The Women's Political Tour then stopped in Tulkarem, where a political symposium was held on the role of women in peace and political reconciliation. 3 women with an extensive expertise in political and social activism provided the 80 women participants from CBOs with tips and information on how women can be more efficient in the actual circumstances in the political life in Palestine and how to strengthen their role in peace and reconciliation. The youth then visited the al Mintar museum, where the heritage and history of local Palestinian communities is documented and put on display, supporting that Palestinians lived on the land before 1948.
After meeting with citizens in the Old City, the young women conducted an advocacy campaign in the center of Nablus, where a big banner was erected to allow citizens to write their opinions and reactions to CEDAW, women's rights and equality. Music was also broadcasted to attract citizens and encourage an open space for dialogue and discussions. More than 63 supporters of PCPD and 200 citizens participated in the demonstration, holding conversations and discussing issues pertaining to women. Overall, these encounters were positive, and citizens were supportive of the initiative, commenting on the professionalism and level of knowledge of the young leaders and PCPD advocates.
This Women's Political Tour was a great success for both PCPD team, participants, supporters and the citizens that asked questions and were interested in learning more about the initiative!