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As the Israeli-Gaza war extends beyond four months, Vital Voices comes forward to reiterate with urgency the importance of women’s leadership in the decision-making and implementation of mechanisms for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict in the region and worldwide. To date, our response strategies have focused our efforts on coordinating urgent assistance support directly to women and leveraging our influence within our networks. However, we are deeply disturbed by the silencing of women in this conflict and are compelled to remind the global community of a well-known and verified fact: when women leaders have meaningful roles in the peace process, there is a 35 percent increase in likelihood that agreements will hold for 15 years or more, according to the International Peace Institute.

Vital Voices is partnering with women leaders from Gaza, Israel, and throughout the region to gain insights directly from women affected by this crisis to inform our organizational response. We are committed to mobilizing for meaningful leadership roles in conflict management and post-conflict efforts to rebuild society.

As an organization dedicated to feminist principles and the advancement of women’s rights, we are profoundly aware of the devastating effects these conflicts have, especially on women and girls. The disproportionate impact on them includes exposure to violence, the disintegration of communities, suffering, loss of lives, and gender-based violence.

The United Nations reports a tragic death toll in Gaza exceeding 27,000, 70 percent of whom are women and children. This stark statistic underscores the critical need for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid, as the destruction of homes and infrastructure severely limits access to necessities such as food, water, and healthcare.

The atrocious attacks on October 7, 2024, the hostage-taking and subsequent acts of brutality, highlight the severe nature of this conflict.

The recent reduction in funding for UNRWA has sent shockwaves, posing a potential threat to the continuation of humanitarian efforts in Gaza. This further exacerbates the challenge of diverting aid away from the affected communities, resulting in a significant death toll in the enclave, primarily impacting women and children.

The situation is dire, with an estimated 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza facing childbirth under appalling conditions daily, without essential medical supplies. Vital Voices has responded by supporting 40 journalists and doctors in Gaza through financial aid via a Palestinian non-profit media advocacy group. The ongoing violence not only claims more lives, particularly those of women and children, but also contravenes human decency and violates key humanitarian and human rights principles.

Our commitment to delivering urgent assistance to women leaders and organizations in the region remains steadfast.

Our call to action for resolving this conflict includes:

  • An immediate, sustainable ceasefire to save innocent lives, with adherence to principles of distinction and proportionality.
  • All parties to cease violence, especially against civilians and civilian structures.
  • Compliance with humanitarian laws to ensure the flow of food, water, and medical supplies into Gaza.
  • The immediate and unconditional release of all hostages taken from their homes on October 7th by Hamas.
  • The release of unlawfully detained Palestinian minors from Israeli detention.
  • A thorough investigation into, and accountability for, ethnic and gender-based violence, including the use of sexual violence as a war tactic.
  • Ensuring safe media access to Gaza for independent reporting.
  • Advocacy by the United States for humanitarian aid delivery through the Rafah Border Crossing and reconsideration of military aid to Israel.
  • Acknowledgment of the war’s significant impact on environmental impact, emphasizing the urgent need to address this issue.
  • The meaningful inclusion of women leaders and perspective in the decision-making and implementation of mechanisms of conflict prevention, management, and resolution

At Vital Voices, we recognize the importance of women’s roles in achieving lasting peace and are dedicated to elevating their voices and needs in our efforts. Our strategies include engaging with women from the affected region, providing urgent assistance to those in immediate need, and highlighting the critical work of women leaders in crisis response and peace-building.