The European Union and the French Presidency of the European Union hosted today the first-ever EU Talk event in Ramallah to honor nine exceptional and inspirational Palestinian women on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
The honored women shared their stories to around two hundred people, including the Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, PA Ministers, international diplomats, and representatives of civil society.
The EU Talk event is a newly established platform that aims to host exceptional Palestinian figures from all walks of life. In its first edition, the EU talk was dedicated to marking International Women’s Day in Palestine by presenting inspirational stories from women across the occupied Palestinian territory.
After launching a local call for applications, 174 applications were received. A selection committee consisting of prominent Palestinian women and representatives of EU, France, Italy, and UN WOMEN thoroughly evaluated the applications and proposed nine women be honored.
Each one of the honored women told her own story to an audience of 200 people at the Ramallah Municipal Hall and gave an inspirational account of how much competence, creativity and courage they needed to pursue their dreams and deal with prevailing social norms in today’s Palestine. Whether in the field of technology, sports, science, community service, or by challenging prejudices and biases, these stories have already inspired many Palestinian women and girls.
‘’Gender equality is a core principle of the European Union. Yet, it is still not a reality. Women face too many hurdles and barriers on their way. In Europe and beyond, women continue to be targets of gender-based violence, stereotypes, and hate speech.
In business, politics, and society as a whole, we can only reach our full potential if we use all of our talent and diversity. Today we celebrate this group of inspirational Palestinian women. This combination of exceptional talents, skills, and courage not only inspires other women but should inspire each and every one of us as we continue to work for gender equality, social equity, and equal opportunities,‘’ said the European Union Representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff at the EU Talk event.
“France is committed to supporting gender equality because women’s rights are at the core foundation of French and European values.
The rising gender-based violence, during the pandemic, illustrates how women’s rights are not a given.
The promotion of women’s rights is linked with all the major global issues such as the promotion of democratic principles, reduction of inequalities, and the fight against global warming. To achieve gender equality, it is crucial to give opportunities to women to study, work, and express themselves. This is why we are gathered today and we hope that the strong women who will talk today can inspire others following their path in breaking the stereotypes and contributing to achieving gender equality,” said the French Consul General, Mr. René Troccaz.
The honored women have diverse and unique inspirational stories. Hala Sammak is a 17 years old Gazan surfer, football player, and musician. Ghada Karim is one of the first technicians in solar photovoltaic systems in Gaza who won the 2021 European Union regional Green Skills Award. Nirmeen al-Madany is a young Gazan scientist and post-doctoral researcher in Brain Tumour Immunology & Immunotherapy at the prestigious German Cancer Research Centre, who won the UNESCO/L’Oréal Women in Science Levant Young Talents Award.
At 20 years old, Dana Abu Koash is the first woman to run a food truck in Palestine and turned it into a social-political meeting platform for young Palestinians. Joumana Diabetes is a contemporary dancer and cancer survivor, who is spreading hope among hundreds of cancer patients. Hanan Ismail is the first female carpenter in Ramallah, who opened her carpentry shop that specializes in making educational material and furniture for children’s centers.
Tahreer Dweikat overcame physical handicaps and became a role model of determination and success in her community. Hawera Hamza from Jerusalem managed to turn her fear to power and became a well-known swimmer and trainer.
From the Bedouin community south of Hebron, Waad Abu Dahr managed to overcome the complex social reality and took the lead in serving her community.