Press release: Dr. Islah Jad discusses her book ‘Palestinian Women’s Activism’ at online event hosted by CARE and UN Women

Date: Thursday, September 10, 2020

10 September 2020, West Bank - Associate Professor, lecturer, Gender specialist and former director of the Women's Studies Institute at Birzeit University in Palestine, Islah Jad, introduced and discussed her book “Palestinian Women’s Activism” at an online book discussion hosted by UN Women and CARE Palestine West Bank/Gaza (WBG).

Attended by over 50 participants including civil society representatives from across Palestine and abroad, the virtual discussion was moderated by Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Chair in Law at the Faculty of Law-Institute of Criminology and the School of Social Work and Public Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Chair in Global Law at Queen Mary University of London. The event was organized within the context of a joint campaign by UN Women and CARE to highlight the importance of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, as the main global framework for accelerating gender equality and advancing women’s rights.

The book discussion is part of a series of events scheduled from July to December 2020, kicked-off with the screening of a film entitled ‘Naila and the Uprising’ (2017), and followed by a radio ‘open wave’ tackling the role of women in the health sector and the response to COVID-19, broadcasted in Palestine by Radio Nisaa FM. 

In her book, Jad engages with theoretical frameworks that previously analyzed the situation of Arab women in general, and Palestinian women in particular, through dichotomies including Tradition vs. Modernity, Religion vs. Secularism and Foreign vs. Original. The book concludes that there is no escape from the link between confronting colonialism and challenging patriarchy. As this constitutes a common ground among all parties within the feminist movement in the face of colonialism, where relationships are woven based on trust and mutual respect. Jad also calls for the elimination of dualities and the rooting of a "homemade" Palestinian feminism.

“This is an important book about the Palestinian women’s movement and their distinct roles in the process of national liberation and development, decision-making, and political and societal participation,” said Salam Kanaan, CARE Palestine WBG Country Director. “There are momentous differences within the feminist movement and within Palestinian society that we must take into consideration, in addition to the importance of working on Palestinian national unity because of its general interest to the feminist movement in particular and to the Palestinians in general.”

Speaking at the event, Maryse Guimond, UN Women Special Representative in Palestine said that “the Joint CARE International and UN Women Campaign in Palestine aims to stimulate discussions in preparation for the Generation Equality Forum. The online discussion on the Palestinian women’s movement is extremely important. Understanding the historical process of women’s movements in their diversity is critical in being able to take stock and chart the upcoming agenda on gender equality and women’s rights. While the pandemic is effectively creating shocks and disruptions, it is also forcing us to explore new ways of engaging, of working. Today’s discussion is relevant to all of this.”

Background

The Generation Equality Forum (GEF) joint campaign in Palestine aims to stimulate discussion and preparations for the GEF, a civil society-centered, multi-stakeholder global gathering for gender equality, which will be held in 2021, presenting a vital opportunity to highlighting women’s rights and gender equality in the challenging socio-economic and political context in Palestine, while also addressing the emerging challenging under the current context of COVID 19-crisis, which has deepened even further Palestinian women and girls’ vulnerabilities.

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, adopted unanimously by 189 countries at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, is considered to be the most comprehensive global policy framework for the rights of women. It recognises women’s rights as human rights and sets out a comprehensive roadmap for achieving equality between women and men, with concrete measures and measurable outcomes across a range of issues affecting women and girls. These outcomes are divided into 12 inter-related critical areas of concern where a need for urgent action was identified: poverty, education and training, health care, violence against women and girls, armed conflict, economic empowerment, power and decision-making, mechanisms to promote the advancement of women, women’s human rights, the media, the environment and the rights of the girl child.

For more information, please contact:

Salam Kanaan, Country Director CARE Palestine/West Bank and Gaza (English, Arabic); salam.kanaan@care.org +970 (2) 592 885588

Inas Margieh, UN Women Programme Coordinator, Palestine Country Office (English, Arabic); inas.margieh@unwomen.org +970 595924459

About CARE

CARE was founded in 1945, in the United Stated of America to help the victims of the Second World War in Europe and is now a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty and providing lifesaving assistance in emergencies. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to help lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty.

About UN Women

UN Women is the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide.

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