Ma'an News Agency
March 8, 2013 - 1:00am

Marking International Women's Day, Palestinian women seek freedom and a better life in a liberated state, while calling for equality in their society.

Aisha Abu Shanab, the recent recipient of an award honoring Arab mothers, dedicated the title to all Palestinian women "who are mothers for the prisoners, the martyrs, and injured."

Abu Shanab is the wife of late Hamas leader Ismael Abu Shanab, who was assassinated by Israel in 2003. Her son died in the Cast Lead assault on Gaza in 2008.

Zeinab al-Ghneimi, the head of a women's research center, told Ma'an that "we as women are moving backward and there is no development.

"We are still marginalized in this society and the latest example is the Gaza marathon. Women were banned from practicing sports at this marathon -- we don't even have the right to work out."

Fatah leader Nibras Bseiso told Ma'an that "we are glad that there are women in ministries, but we want an increase in the existence of women in ministries and leadership positions."

A female activist from Gaza, Maha Bheisi, congratulated women on the occasion, saying Palestinian women had suffered and were still suffering from the Israeli occupation in addition to their society and a "culture that is related to 100 years ago."

Bheisi told Ma'an that Palestinian women "didn't achieve anything in the last seven years until now," especially in the domain of jobs. Most women are jobless in Gaza, she said.

The activist stressed that Palestinian internal division had a lot to with harming women's roles.

She pointed out that there are many organizations that work for women, "but patriarchy still blocks this awareness and progress for many reasons."

"We need extra workshops for men to spread awareness," Bheisi said.


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