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Is this Gaza’s first female baker?

Palestinian Ruba Abu Al-Aish has defied customs and traditions in the Gaza Strip which have for years limited work in bakeries to men, by running her own business in the besieged enclave.

“I am a married woman, I have two sons, and I graduated 14 years ago, during which time I tried to find a job opportunity to help me and my husband provide for my children’s needs, but I did not find what I was looking for, until I bought this bakery. There began my journey of work, fatigue, pressure and success,” Ruba tells MEMO.

She says her bakery produces baladi loaves, both white and wholemeal flatbread. What sets her bread apart from others, she explains, is that the bread is bigger in size and is made in a similar way to how previous generations made bread at home, before modern bakeries took over.

Ruba bought the bakery after saving money from her previous jobs and ventured on the journey after being unable to find work in the field she studied at university.

She now spends ten hours a day at the bakery and, though her business has been a success, she needs to develop it further to ensure it survives in the future, but this plan depends on Gaza’s economic conditions, she adds.