According to some new reports, grooms in Gaza are looking for brides who are career oriented.
Three years ago, Jamal Najib would have never considered marrying a girl who was employed. Due to the harsh living conditions in the Gaza Strip, however, Najib had no choice but to change his mind and marry a girl with a job.
"I always thought that marrying a working girl who pays for the family needs would affect both my manliness and our happiness as a married couple, but I eventually realized that due to the current hardships and economic crisis, our life would be quite tough if I marry an unemployed girl," Najib, 29, whose wedding is scheduled for December 7, told Al-Monitor.
Dardah al-Shaer, professor of social psychology at Al-Aqsa University, told Al-Monitor, "Poverty and unemployment have reached unprecedented levels in Gaza as inflation and the weak purchasing power top the list of reasons that prompt guys to marry working girls in order to adapt to the economic conditions."
Shaer added, "To marry working girls is now being accepted by the Palestinian youth who believe in the importance of having women assume responsibilities and play a role in house management given the worsening economic conditions and life's crises."
Najib said he feels lucky marrying a girl who has a job. "My fiancee works as a nurse for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, and she earns about $900 per month, which is enough for any Palestinian family — even if the husband is unemployed. This is the livelihood security I am looking for," he added.
Nidal Abu Khalleh, 24, is also looking for an employed bride who can help him start a family, as he is unemployed himself.
Khalleh told Al-Monitor, “Marrying a working girl was out of the question in the past. My family always considered that work was for men only, but now everyone is encouraging me to marry a working girl.”
The conservative nature of Palestinian society does not allow women to play roles deemed to be the preserve of men, such as providing for the family. However, the harsh living conditions in the Gaza Strip have significantly contributed to getting rid of these beliefs, as people increasingly accept women working outside the house to help their families survive.