Escape from poverty
The curfews, roadblocks and border closure of the occupation have led to the bankruptcy of industries traditionally employing women, such as the textile sector.
As a result, the majority of Palestinian women have turned to some kind of home-based employment to escape poverty.
Palestine's General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) general secretary, Shahir Said, said: "The most pressing need for workers is the ability to reach their workplace, so that they can bring home the bread and milk to feed their families.
"The Israeli secret services have themselves admitted that no Palestinian worker has ever been involved in a suicide bombing."
"How can we defend them (Palestinian women) when they are not considered as genuine workers by the law?"
Abla Masruja, Palestine's General Federation of Trade Unions
Work done at home is not considered official, is not protected by any laws and does not provide women a proper salary.
"Because they are the first to lose their jobs, women accept deplorable working conditions, making pickles, for example, or other food products in their homes.
"But how can we defend them when they are not considered genuine workers by the law?" says Abla Masruja, women's coordinator of PGFTU, an ICFTU affiliate.
In addition to discrimination in the labour market, women have to cope with a rise of conservative ideas in Palestinian society and the increase in early marriages arranged by families who, driven by poverty, often are anxious to be freed of mouths to feed.
Palestinian Authority Minister of Women's Affairs Zahira Kamal said: "It is not for lack of education that they are not working. It's a question of mentalities and attitudes."
Women employed outside the home often carry the burden of moral disgrace, deterring many from even looking for work after leaving school.
At the end of secondary school, 80% of the best pupils are girls.
"Many young women don't even apply for a job when they finish their studies," Kamal said. "In such a context there are no development returns on the investment in education.
"Disapproval of women's work, even in the absence of a male breadwinner, is a major obstacle in the way of women seeking salaried employment," she said.