Conflict Stories: Who are the women of Gaza? Photos by Ashraf Amra.

Conflict Stories: Who are the women of Gaza? Photos by Ashraf Amra.

They are a staple in the cultural traditions. They are breadwinners and martial artists, crafters and cooks, business owners, students and activists. They breathe life into Gaza, but most of us don’t even know their names. Award-winning Gaza-native photojournalist Ashraf Amra urges us to take a closer look at the women who run the show – these are the women of Gaza.

Almost one year later and it’s hard to believe – news of rockets over the Gaza Strip and clashes near the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem have found their way back into our headlines, this time with Ramadan and Passover overlapping. 

A country run by terrorists, an apartheid state, a war in limbo fueled by religion, extremism and politics – the conflict has been described in a thousand different ways from all different sides. We hear about Gaza every time tensions with Israel escalate, we think about Gaza as a war-zone or an open prison, and we see Gaza for its demolished facades and refugees.

But regardless of one’s political views, we can agree that aside from the conflict, many of us don’t know much about daily life in Gaza. The foothold this conflict has had in our perception of Palestine, has taken the spotlight in the world theater away from the pockets where, for the average person, the show must go on. And it is the women of Gaza who are backstage keeping it all together. 

Ashraf Amra is the documenter of his people. Without much freedom of mobility outside of Gaza, he uses his camera and close relationship with his community to show how Gazans live regardless of a long-standing deadly conflict. As many men have been injured or in exile throughout the conflict and the economy in Gaza struggles, women have begun to take on different professions and responsibilities to support their families. Amra’s reportages of the women of Gaza show us the backbone of Palestinian society. 

IMAGO / ZUMA Wire / Ashraf Amra
IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Ashraf Amra | Palestinian students attend their graduation ceremony at Palestine University at Al-Zahra city in the center of Gaza Strip. 28 July, 2021.
imago images/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Ashraf Amra | Palestinian women attend at a self-defense course on the beach of Gaza Sea. 21 February, 2022
IMAGO/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Ashraf Amra | Palestinian women work in a biscuit factory, in Deir al-Balah, Gaza. 7 March, 2022.
IMAGO / ZUMA Wire / Ahraf Amra
IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Ashraf Amra | Reham Shurab makes a traditional lantern, called a fanous used as a decoration to celebrate the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Gaza. 14 March, 2022.
imago images/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Ashraf Amra | Al-Jabri, 34, who graduated from the Department of Medical Secretarial, is currently studying at the Faculty of Law, chose to open a shop to rent dresses due to the collapsing economy in Gaza. 6 July, 2019.
imago images/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Ashraf Amra | Women prepare couscous maftoul, samosa and kubba in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip to sell it to customers ahead of Islamic holy month of Ramadan. 11 April, 2021.
imago images/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Ashraf Amra | Two female Palestinian graduates, Heba Al-Hallaq, 32, and Heba Al Qudra, 22, open their own restaurant, to face unemployment in Khan Younis, Gaza. 8 September, 2021.
imago images/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Ashraf Amra | Palestinian women ride bicycles during pink sports entertainment day to raise awareness for early breast cancer screening, in Gaza city. 14 October, 2021.
imago images/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Ashraf Amra | High school female student Sojood Abu Amra, celebrates with her family after her success in the final exams known as Tawjihi with a 99.9%, in Dier al-Balah, Gaza. 3 August, 2021.
imago images/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Ashraf Amra | Palestinian female graduates, plant at a farm in Deir al-Balah, Gaza. 10 October, 2021.
imago images/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Ashraf Amra | Palestinians attend an event of the 11 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, in Gaza City. 01 December, 2021.
imago images/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Ashraf Amra | Palestinian women work at the cheese factory in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. 22 February, 2022.
imago images/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Ashraf Amra | Palestinians attend the opening of the 15th annual exhibition entitled Women’s Products in Gaza City. 29 June, 2021.
IMAGO/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Ashraf Amra | Palestinian Christians attend an Orthodox Palm Sunday, at the Church of Saint Porphyrius. 17 April, 2022.
IMAGO/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Ashraf Amra | Palestinians wait to receive their IDs at the civil affairs office, allowing them to get an official Palestinian ID number that grants them the possibility to travel abroad and clear up years of uncertain legal status. Gaza City. 10 March, 2022.
imago images/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Ashraf Amra | Palestinian woman Hanin Abu Salah, 26, works in a plant nursery, on the International Women’s Day, in Khan Yunis, Gaza. 9 March, 2021.
imago images/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Ashraf Amra | Women participate in an initiative to distribute woolen clothes to the poor children and cancer patients in the Gaza Strip. 19 February, 2022.
imago images/ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Ashraf Amra | Palestinian carpenter Tahrir Abu Shab,32, makes a living by making wooden chairs and gifts in her workshop and selling them to souvenir shops and through social media. Khan Younis, Gaza. 7 January, 2021.
Written by columnist and IMAGO editor Sofia Bergmann,  photos by Gaza-based photographer Ashraf Amra.
See IMAGO’s curated photo collections from Gaza.

Related Articles