Killings, miscarriages and no sanitation: How girls and mothers in Gaza survive the 'war on women'

Credit: AP

Around 9,000 women have been killed by Israeli forces since Hamas' attacks on October 7, United Nations Women estimates, in what the organisation has described as "a war on women".

An average of 63 women are killed every day as the fighting continues, with roughly 37 of those believed to be mothers.

"Many more women and girls will continue to be killed and suffer," Tarneem, who works for Medical Aid for Palestinians, told ITV News.

She spoke from a room that was unrecognisable as her kitchen, as most of the walls had collapsed and the space was full of debris and fallen stone.

Tarneem described the difficulties for women living in Gaza at the moment

"If you are a pregnant woman in Gaza you may miscarry because of the stress and shock you're going through. If you're not miscarrying, you may go through premature birth, which is basically a death sentence to your child," she said.

The lack of proper hygiene facilities has been well documented throughout the Israel-Gaza conflict, and it is an issue that is felt more acutely by women.

Women in Gaza have said they are resorting to using strips of the tents they need for shelter as a replacement for period products, as very limited aid supplies have made it into the region.

"As a woman I don’t have anything to live, I don’t have water, I struggle during my period, there is no water to clean the blood. I cannot find pads for my period," one woman living in Gaza told ITV News.

The topic is considered taboo in the territory, so she spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"We feel paralysed in front our children, we cannot comfort our kids and tell them you are safe. My wish only is to go back to my home, sleep in my bed and use my bathroom," she said.

Meanwhile that lack of supplies also means limited food.

The United Nations (UN) has said that around 500,000 people currently face starvation in Gaza, while 2.3 million are experiencing acute food shortages amid Israel's ongoing military offensive in the territory.

Although starvation is not an issue specific to women, they are often the ones tasked with sourcing food, and tend to eat last, less and the least, UN Women said.

“In 95 per cent of those cases, mothers are the ones going without food, skipping at least one meal to feed their children,” the organisation reported.

Nearly nine in 10 women also reported that is harder for them to access food than men.

Some are now resorting to scavenging for food under rubble or in dumpsters, or other measures.

"As the world celebrates International Women's Day, I urge humanity to stand in solidarity with the women of Gaza and work for a better future where women in Gaza can live with dignity, peace, hope and security," aid worker Tarneem told ITV News.

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