Title

Palestinian Women’s Perception of Their Social and Economic Status

Date of Degree

12-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Program

Education

Advisor

Jessica Kimmel

Advisor

Osman Ozturgut

Advisor

Lopita Nath

Abstract

In the context of how education is shifting the status quo of gender roles in Palestine, it is necessary to explore the perceptions of Palestinian women in the Gaza Strip regarding the relationship between their education and their social and economic status in society. We understand little of these relationships because there are no studies of any type that include this population. The researcher used purposive sampling to select the participants in this case study. The researcher developed a strong relationship with two local business people from Gaza. They were the gatekeepers for the research and introduced the researcher to 16 women who met the criteria to participate in this study. The participants were in the 30 to 45 age group, possessed a minimum education of a bachelor’s degree, and were representatives of a diverse population such as Bedouins, rural residents, and urban residents within the Gazan society. Educated Gazan women are embracing new work and economic opportunities. Their new employment opportunities increase their social and financial mobility. In so doing, they are making significant contributions to their families and Palestine through remittance and contributions, buying goods, or educating siblings or their own children. These women are, therefore, increasingly able to evaluate and negotiate their relative situation within social power constructs. In their households as well as in society, their efforts bring about change in the cultural and economic realms. Their goal is to eventually create change in the political arena.

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