The ‘Women’s Front’: Nationalism, Feminism, and Modernity in Palestine


Hasso, Frances S. 1998. “The ‘Women’s Front’: Nationalism, Feminism, and Modernity in Palestine.” Gender & Society 12 (4): 441-65.

Author: Frances S. Hasso


Nationalisms are polymorphous and often internally contradictory, unleashing emancipatory as well as repressive ideas and forces. This article explores the ideologies and mobilization strategies of two organizations over a 10-year period in the occupied Palestinian territories: a leftist-nationalist party in which women became unusually powerful and its affiliated and remarkably successful nationalist-feminist women's organization. Two factors allowed women to become powerful and facilitated a fruitful coexistence between nationalism and feminism: (1) a commitment to a variant of modernist ideology that was marked by grassroots as opposed to military mobilization and (2) a concern with proving the cultural worth of Palestinian society to the West, a project that was symbolized by women's status in important ways. By comparing international and indigenous feminist discourses, the study also demonstrates how narratives about gender status in the Third World are implicated in, and inextricable from, international economic and political inequalities.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Nationalism Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories

Year: 1998

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