Skip to main content

This authority, however, comes with the responsibility for the family’s economic well-being and security. In this regard, gender roles in Palestinian society – for both Muslims and Christians — are seen as distinct, but complementary. Women take primary responsibility for raising the children and maintaining the household. In this role, women serve as the glue that holds the family together and as the keeper of family bonds and affinity. Families gather often to share meals, exchange stories and news of loved ones. Several generations of women typically prepare the meals together, passing on family recipes and keeping family bonds strong.

Historically, village women were responsible for working in the fields and taking the produce to market. In cities, women had more opportunity for educational advancement. With education came greater opportunities for work outside the home, and women began playing a role in the economic, political and cultural life of Palestinian society. Economic depression in Palestine after World War I also increased the number of women seeking employment outside the home and led to the establishment of women’s charitable organizations; many of these groups developed political agendas that sought the advancement of women’s rights and self-determination for the Palestinian people.

The role of women also changed dramatically in the years since the Nakba, as poor economic opportunities in the Occupied Territories required them to work to supplement the family income. The departure of men in search of jobs and the large number of men imprisoned by Israel left many women as the sole breadwinners. Palestinian women not only engaged economically, they were also politicized by the struggle for independence. Young women activists formed grassroots committees in the Occupied Territories that included volunteer work groups, trade and student unions, youth movements and educational centers. Palestinian women continue to play a prominent role in the political, economic and social life of their people. They are represented in all the professions and within the governing structures of the Palestinian Authority.

Muhammad Kaddass participating in one of the activities on positive masculinities for men and women from his refugees camp in Palestine. Photo: Aisha association for women and child protection

Source: IMEU

Leave a Reply