First Advisor

Laura Robson

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in History and University Honors




Palestinian Arab Women -- Political activity -- History, Intifada (1987-1993) -- Women, Palestinian Arab Women -- Social conditions -- History




This study situates the Palestinian women’s committees within the initial year of Intifada, 1987-1988, to show that women’s committees were politically active yet were an inherent creation due to class issues. It became evident that these unofficial women’s popular organizations were a development of the 1970s. Furthermore, this study argues that the women’s committees were affected by issues of class, politics and gender; after all, their creation was due to the charitable societies exclusivity to upper and upper-middle class women, while gendered differences in tactics of women and women’s committees during the Intifada in comparison to the Shabbiba (youth movement) was merely a construction of the PLO and other mainstream leadership of the Palestinians. Neither of these two types of women’s organizations sought to better the position of women in society during the Intifada, even though the Palestinian women’s committees allowed for a more diverse membership. Additionally, gendered language existed outside of these women’s organizations in the leaflets of the mainstream leadership, such as the PLO, that situated women as motherly protectors rather than active participants who were often as reactive as their male counterparts to the Israeli occupiers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Lastly, these women activists within the women’s worker committees "unified" under the Higher Women’s Committee which was plagued by internal political alignments, implicating a lack in unity.


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