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Published on 29.03.18 in Vol 4, No 1 (2018): EMPHNET Sixth Regional Conference

Preprints (earlier versions) of this paper are available at, first published Mar 29, 2018.

This paper is in the following e-collection/theme issue:


    Palestinian Women Reproductive Health Rights: Knowledge, Opportunities, Challenges and the Way Forward. A Qualitative Study in Bethlehem Area in the West Bank

    Corresponding Author:

    Yara Hadweh


    Background: Reproductive health rights (RHR) were declared as fundamental human rights since Cairo’s (1994) and Beijing’s (1995) conferences. The acknowledgement of the importance of these rights was a momentous point for reproductive health. In the Palestinian context, RHR are severely affected by the combination of constraints of the political system and the cultural context. RHR remain one of the least prioritized matters making them extremely unmentionable.

    Objective: To underpin the multiple political-demographic and cultural factors/conditions that influence Palestinian women RHR.

    Methods: This research relied on an empirical qualitative study. Semi-structured interviews were done through Skype. A purposive sample of ten Palestinian women living in Bethlehem Area in the West Bank was selected. These interviews formed the basis of the analysis.

    Results: Findings were considered under five emergent themes: knowledge, information and education; services and resources; Palestinian context and norms; conflict and occupation; violence against women. These intersecting themes shaped women’s knowledge and perceptions of RHR. They highlighted the underpinning factors that influence the existing opportunities and challenges for Palestinian women to access to RHR, and health seeking behaviors and overall wellbeing.

    Conclusions: This research emphasizes the great importance of this topic to the field of public health in general and specifically women’s health. This research is rare in its kind in the Palestinian context. In insuring universal access to RHR in Palestine, it is recommended that governments should demonstrate commitment to prioritizing RHR initiatives. Creating economic opportunities and socio-cultural empowerment for women in Palestine would build women’s resilience. Further researches regarding RHR should be conducted in other areas of Palestine.

    iproc 2018;4(1):e10557


    Edited by Y Khader; This is a non–peer-reviewed article. submitted 29.03.18; accepted 29.03.18; published 29.03.18

    ©Yara Hadweh. Originally published in Iproceedings (, 29.03.2018.

    This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in Iproceedings, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.