Palestinian Women – Shared Struggle, Diverse Experiences

Palestinian Women – Shared Struggle, Diverse Experiences

 

How does one write about women and their concerns without reducing them to so-called “women’s issues”? Are the struggles of Palestinian women under occupation or in refugee camps all that different from Palestinian men? Is a mother’s concern for her children a “women’s cause” distinguished in its sentiment and action from paternal concern? Is gender all that important, after all? 

 

The Journal of Palestine Studies has long addressed these and similar questions regarding the lived experience of Palestinian women in historic Palestine and the diaspora. The Journal’s long history of papers, interviews, and essays have served to highlight the stories and experiences Palestinian women have to share. While they are part of a grander Palestinian story, these experiences highlight a reality that is often distinctive to women. 

 

For instance, in a 1994 interview conducted by Stephanie Latte Abdallah on behalf of the Journal, a Palestinian refugee woman in the Wahdat camp in Amman relates, “It is true that there is a lack of education among refugees in general because of our economic situation, but the men get out more and so are more exposed to political questions and what's happening in the world. The women often stay at home, meet fewer people, and therefore have a hard time understanding the political, economic, and social questions on their own.” Additionally, Palestinian women face the challenge of “Gender Politics and Nationalism” as recounted by Sherna Berger Gluck, “At the height of the [first] intifada, women activists regularly echoed the refrain: 'We will not be another Algeria' - vowing they would not allow their interests to be subverted to political processes, as occurred in Algeria following independence.”

 

In its reports on Palestinian women, the Journal has sought to shine a light on the myriad experiences of Palestinians – of gender, class, religion, and geography – in order to convey the diversity of the Palestinian past and present.

 

As part of our Special Focus on Palestinian Women – Shared Struggle, Diverse Experiences in conjunction with the forthcoming International Women’s Day (March 8), the Institute for Palestine Studies has made available a series of articles from our archives.* This archival collection includes articles on the early Palestinian women’s movement in the 1920s and 1930s, the role of Palestinian camp women as “Tellers of History,” the experiences of Palestinian female laborers in Gaza under direct Israeli occupation, and many, many more, including the aforementioned two by Abdallah and Gluck. These articles, which include several interviews, relate extraordinary stories often told in the voices of Palestinian women. In presenting them, we hope to inform our readers about the exceptional stories that make up the whole of Palestine.

 

*Articles that were only made available as part of our monthly Special Focus have since been removed and may be purchased at our co-publisher's website, the University of California Press. Removed articles will automatically take you to the respective article at UCP's website. 

 

Articles: 

 

Fighting on Two Fronts: Conversations with Palestinian Women

Author: Soraya Antonius

Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 8, No. 3 (Spring, 1979), pp. 26-45

 

Encounters with Palestinian Women under Occupation

Author: Rosemary Sayigh

Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 10, No. 4 (Summer, 1981), pp. 3-26

 

The Mukhabarat State: A Palestinian Woman's Testimony

Author: Rosemary Sayigh

Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 14, No. 3 (Spring, 1985), pp. 18-31

 

Palestinian Women Workers in the Israeli-Occupied Gaza Strip

Author: Susan Rockwell

Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 14, No. 2, Special Issue: The Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories (Winter, 1985), pp. 114-36

 

The Women's Movement during the Uprising

Author: Joost R. Hiltermann

Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 20, No. 3 (Spring, 1991), pp. 48-57

 

Palestinian Women: Gender Politics and Nationalism

Author: Sherna Berger Gluck

Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Spring, 1995), pp. 5-15

 

Palestinian Women in the Camps of Jordan: Interviews

Author: Stephanie Latte Abdallah

Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 24, No. 4 (Summer, 1995), pp. 62-72

 

Palestinian Camp Women as Tellers of History

Author: Rosemary Sayigh

Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 27, No. 2 (Winter, 1998), pp. 42-58

 

Gender and Politics under the Palestinian Authority

Author: Nahla Abdo

Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 28, No. 2 (Winter, 1999), pp. 38-51

 

The Emergence of the Palestinian Women's Movement, 1929-39

Author: Ellen L. Fleischmann

Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 29, No. 3 (Spring, 2000), pp. 16-32

 

Fragile Intimacies: Marriage and Love in the Palestinian Camps of Jordan (1948–2001)

Author: Stéphanie Latte Abdallah

Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 38, No. 4 (Summer 2009), pp. 47-62

 

From Nationalist to Economic Subject: Emergent Economic Networks among Shatila's Women

Author: Diana Allan

Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 38, No. 4 (Summer 2009), pp. 75-90

 

Memories of Home and Stories of Displacement: The Women of Artas and the “Peasant Past”

Author: Falestin Naïli

Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 38, No. 4 (Summer 2009), pp. 63-74

 

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Photo Caption: 

Arabic Translation: International Women's Day 8 March 1981. Poster was published by the General Union of Palestinian Women. Source: The Palestine Poster Project Archives.