"Palestinian women face a lot of challenges," said Abeer Abu Ghaith, "We have plenty of qualified women in my area who have no access to jobs.”
Abeer has been working in her local Palestine and MENA region to set up several business aimed at connecting young women, not only to the job market, but also to each other. Her first venture began in 2013 when she created StayLinked, which serves as a platform for Palestinian freelancers and businesses in need of services -such as translation, data entry, graphic design, online marketing and website development- and female talent in need of work.
While her work has transformed the lives of many women, Abeer pushed boundaries to get to this point. Growing up, Abeer was told that ‘her job is in her husband’s kitchen’ but refused to accept that a woman couldn’t enter the workforce.
Despite graduating with an honors degree in computer systems engineering, Abeer describes a period of two years in IDG Connect article where she was completely unemployed with no job prospects. “During my unemployment period, I kept taking online courses in my technical area to improve my skills. This helped me to get my first job as an instructor in computer networking at a university.”
Palestinian women already make up a majority of students in many colleges and universities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, but often have trouble transitioning into the job market. After they graduate, the traditional gender expectations usually kick in — that they should get married first and worry about a career later.
"As a woman, I can help and change the world in my own way, even if the society wants to confine us in the kitchen and the house," she said in an AP article, sitting at a desk in her cramped bedroom, which doubles as an office. "I have changed the world from the house."
And therein lies much of the appeal for the women that Abeer’s ventures empower. Despite working from the confines of home, women have transformed their lives through increased access to jobs and financial independence.
You can watch Abeer's speech at One Young World 2015 here.