Islamist Women of Hamas: Between Feminism and Nationalism

Citation:

Jad, Islah. 2011. “Islamist Women of Hamas: Between Feminism and Nationalism.” Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 12 (2): 176-201. doi:10.1080/14649373.2011.554647.

Author: Islah Jad

Abstract:

In December, 1995, when Hamas announced the establishment of the Islamic National Salvation Party, a political organisation separate from its military wing, it opened the way for involvement of the Islamic movement in the political processes brought about in the West Bank and Gaza with the signing of the Oslo Accords and the arrival of the Palestinian National Authority. In speaking of the rights of different groups, including women, in its founding statement, and in setting up in Gaza a Women’s Action Department, the new Party opened its doors to the ‘new Islamic woman’ and to a significant evolution in Islamist gender ideology in Gaza, if not in the West Bank – where, due to Hamas’ policy there of targeting only males, there exists no parallel to the Salvation Party or organisational support for women like that represented by the Women’s Action Department in Gaza. Hamas’ gender ideology, like that of the secularist parties, remains contradictory, and doors to women’s equality only partly open; nevertheless, Islamist women have managed to build impressive, well-organised women’s constituencies among highly educated and professional women coming from poor and refugee backgrounds; and the Salvation Party shows an increasing tendency to foster gender equality and more egalitarian social ideals, while holding fast to the agenda of national liberation. These advances have been achieved both through alternative interpretations of Islamic legal and religious texts, and through positive engagement with the discourses of other groups, whether secular feminists or nationalists. In contrast, secularists are losing ground by advocating a discourse of rights in isolation from the national agenda and in the absence of a mobilising organisation. These developments suggest possibilities for mutual accommodation between Islamist and other Palestinian groups. They suggest also that the nature of the state proposed by Islamists will depend to a large extent on the visions and challenges posed by other nationalist and secularist groups.

Topics: Armed Conflict, National Liberation Wars, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-state armed groups, Nationalism, Political Participation Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories

Year: 2011

© 2017 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.