Gaza women first began waiting tables when Hamas came into power, but the phenomenon has been gaining traction this year ahead of the busy summer season.
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Ranad Al-Ez, who works at a restaurant called Al-Salam, said that her customers are still surprised to see a woman waiting on them, but she does not let that throw her off.
Waitress at Gaza hotel
"I try not to focus on the stares and comments made by stupid people," said Al-Ez, who has a degree in hotel management and has previously worked as a waitress at women-only events. "I am certain that I chose the right profession. It's not easy, but I hope that with time people will get used to it."
'Morons mock me'
Asmahan Nasser, a resident of the Shati refugee camp, has gotten a job as a waitress at the luxurious beachside Aldeira hotel four months ago in order to help her family.
Nasser, who intends to get a degree in tourism studies at Gaza College, considers her work a long-term career path as well. She expressed hope that by the time she finishes her studies, people will treat women who wait tables better.
"Some morons who are surprised to see me serving them food and drinks mock me," she said. "Once, a woman refused to take the drink I served her. She stormed out of the restaurant in protest against my employment."
The belief that the new line of work is inappropriate for women and goes against tradition is a major contributor to the derisive response.
But employers said they view the development as positive. Alderia Manager Samir Skaik said that the integration of women in the hospitality and tourism is meant to improve service and make more professional.
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