The Political Marginalization of Palestinian Women in the West Bank

While Palestinian women have always faced political marginalization, developments since the Oslo Accords have caused them to endure perhaps even more formidable challenges when it comes to political participation. (photo:  APA Images)

By Yara Hawari |  Al Shabaka  |  Jul 28, 2019

…women have always been present and active at crucial political and national moments, though they have also had to navigate tensions among feminism, nationalism, and anti-colonial struggle.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
While Palestinian women have always faced political marginalization, developments since the Oslo Accords have caused them to endure perhaps even more formidable challenges when it comes to political participation. Al-Shabaka Palestine Policy Fellow Yara Hawari outlines these challenges and recommends ways for Palestinian women and society to disrupt this process and revitalize the Palestinian liberation struggle through feminism.

Though Palestinian women have always played a fundamental role in the struggle for liberation from the Israeli settler colonial regime, they have faced consistent political marginalization. This experience has become more multifaceted and entrenched since the 1990s, when the Oslo Accords unleashed a myriad of changes in the structure of Palestinian society and governance.

These changes have included a newfound dependence on international donor aid among Palestinian civil society, including women’s organizations, and the bolstering of a corrupt and relentlessly patriarchal Palestinian Authority (PA) that complements rather than confronts the Israeli occupation and its oppression of the Palestinian population, both male and female. Such developments have caused today’s Palestinian women to endure perhaps even more formidable challenges when it comes to activism and political participation.

This policy brief addresses these issues, providing a historical consideration of Palestinian women’s political participation and then examining the reasons behind their de-politicization with a particular focus on the West Bank. It concludes by offering some potential avenues for Palestinian women and their allies to disrupt this process and revitalize the Palestinian liberation struggle through feminism.

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