Gaza might not be the first place one associates with gender equality. Yet the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector may be leading the way; 31% of ICT professionals in Gaza are women, more than double that of non-ICT organizations, a new report from USAID and Mercy Corps reveals.
The report, titled “Gaza Labor Market Needs Assessment for the Digital Economy”, surveyed 141 university graduates in Gaza with degrees in ICT, to assess skill gaps and preferred tools in the sector. Some are highlighted here:
- In 2012, 32% of the labor force in Gaza was unemployed.
- In the first quarter of 2012, 47% of women were unemployed.
- At 58%, Gaza’s youth unemployment is more than double the regional average.
- In 2012, ICT contributed 0.56% to the real gross domestic product (GDP) growth of the West Bank, and a mere 0.02% to the real GDP growth of Gaza.
- In 2011, 41% of businesses with ICT tools in Gaza used computers, 34% used the internet, 12% did electronic transactions, and only 4% had websites.
- In the West Bank and Gaza in 2012, 17% of women participated in the labor force, compared to 68.7% of men.
- Women polled in the survey question the quality of their education for workforce preparation, as well as the market qualifications of their instructors.
The report also details the use of specific ICT skills and tools, and gaps in ICT education and employment opportunities in Gaza, based on focus groups conducted with ICT school graduates, higher education institutions, and ICT companies.
Check out the full report in the grey box on the right for a more detailed look at the state of ICT in Gaza.