Prior to the establishment of the Ministry of Women's Affairs in November 2003, gender and women's issues were under the responsibility of the Ministry of Planning. In order to facilitate the mainstreaming of gender issues at the national level and throughout all ministries, as well as the introduction of gender sensitive laws, the Palestinian Authority established the Ministry of Women's Affairs in 2003. In that same year, a research report, entitled “In Support of Palestinian Women”, commissioned by UNESCO revealed a need for a central women’s observation center. Among key recommendations was a program that would contain a “documentation center and promote studies and research on the status of women in Palestinian society” and participate in the “sharing of resources and infrastructure with key women’s organizations.”
The Palestinian Women’s Research and Documentation Center complies with the decision adopted by the Executive Board of UNESCO at its 167th Session in 2003. The decision authorized the Secretariat to address the needs of the Palestinian people more efficiently and to support reconciliation processes in the Middle East and to the needs identified through consultations with Palestinian academics, activists and the Ministry of Women's Affairs. PWRDC was designated as a UNESCO flagship project during the sixth annual meeting of the Joint UNESCO/Palestinian Authority Committee, which took place in Paris on July 2004. UNESCO, in collaboration with the Ministry of Women's Affairs, established the Center in January 2006. The Center is the first of its kind in an Arab country outside of North Africa.
To realize a society where the production of information and data acts as a catalyst for change and gender justice, thus empowering Palestinian women to claim and exercise their full human rights and enable government organizations to fulfill their obligations.
To serve as the primary clearinghouse and resource center on information related to the situation of Palestinian women so that governmental, international and civil society organizations, media, and research institutions, are able to better advocate for and realize gender equality.
• Research: To collect and generate complimentary and comparative research on issues affecting Palestinian women, which shall be produced and analyzed from a gender perspective, at the local, regional and international levels;
• Documentation: To build upon existing resources and information on Palestinian women, while increasing their availability and access through a library that specializes in gender issues;
• Capacity-Building: To strengthen the capacities of governmental and non-governmental organizations to better advocate on behalf of Palestinian women;
• Influencing Media: To partner with and influence local media to better report on women's and gender issues so that women's lives are better documented and their images more accurate;
• Networking: To collaborate with local, regional and international organizations working on behalf of women's rights and gender equality in order to facilitate knowledge sharing and advocacy.
Professionalism – Gender Equality – Creativity – Dignity – Respect – Diversity