Local Power and Women’s Empowerment in a Conflict Context: Palestinian Women Contesting Power in Chaos

Islah Jad, Associate Professor and Director, Women's Studies Institute, Birzeit University, West Bank, Palestine, and Campbell Scholar, SAR

Colloquium, SAR Boardroom

Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free

In Palestine, where political instability and occupational violence persist, the call for affirmative action for women might not be the most effective pathway for women’s empowerment. This is especially true since the politically chaotic situation has served to fragment women’s power and their ability to act as a collective. In this presentation, Jad examines what it means for women to claim political representation in the highly complex context of Palestine, characterized by Israeli Occupation and a deep rift over political agendas and means of liberation. Jad explores how volatile political and socioeconomic dynamics influence women’s agency in politics as well as challenges faced by women who seek to enter politics and the processes through which they negotiate those challenges. Jad argues that while direct political involvement by women in the national struggle was an important medium for women’s collective empowerment, the call for affirmative action, following a universal women’s empowerment agenda, needs to be examined with particular attention to the nuances of its context.

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