We only use your email address to send you the newsletter and to see how many people are opening our emails. A full privacy policy can be viewed here. You can change your mind at any time and update your preferences or unsubscribe.

What is it like for girls to grow up in Occupied Palestine?

An adolescent girl from Gaza. Photo: Rebecca Reid/Overseas Development Institute

This collection of photos by adolescent girls explores how adolescent girls and young women in Gaza deal with social and political isolation. It demonstrates how they navigate complex social, inter-generational and cultural dynamics during their transition to adulthood. A the same time, the photos illustrate how girls in Gaza are learning to deal with challenges at the core of adolescence in many parts of the globe: developing one’s identity and a sense of self-esteem, a yearning to be more peer-focused than family oriented; and coming to terms with their changing appearance and emotions.

Widely held gender norms mean that as girls get older, their role in the household becomes more defined. Most girls have to help their mothers and sisters cater to the needs of their fathers, uncles and brothers. Others girls drop out of school and infrequently leave the house – most typically because many parents are concerned about family honour and prefer to keep girls in the house until they are ‘safely’ married. Around 15% of girls in Gaza marry before the age of 18. The lack of mobility makes many girls feel depressed and isolated, and worried about their futures.

Through their photos, girls from a participatory research pilot in Gaza underscore that it is important for them to have the space to ‘be themselves’, to interact with their peers and trusted adults whilst they are building skills that are relevant for their current and future lives.

View the photo gallery.