Ibrahim Yousef Athameleh
Published 07/03/2018 13:30
Original Article: http://www.bokra.net/Article-1384795
Kayan Feminist Organization held a special press conference this afternoon at St. Gabriel Hotel in Nazareth, during which Kayan showed the results of their research titled: “Palestinian Women’s Exclusion from Local Councils: Reality and Challenges Between Social and State Oppression”.
The press conference commemorated the 8th March, as the organization believes that women’s equality is far from realized, due to the fact that women are still excluded from the public sphere and denied their rights to have meaningful and influential participation in politics.
Male patriarchal culture, a culture of corruption, and use of force are obstacles to women’s participation in local councils
The research presented at the conference touches upon the actual obstacles that Palestinian women in Israel face in gaining representation in public office, as well as a quantifiable analysis of women’s views on these obstacles. The research is based on the experiences of women candidates who ran for local elections, who were interviewed for the research. The study also makes a distinction between women’s and men’s experiences in this field, as they also interviewed male local council members. In addition, it highlights similarities and differences between men’s and women’s views and makes a comparative analysis according to a number of key issues and themes.
The study explains that male patriarchal culture, the culture of corruption, and the use of force are the main obstacles to women’s candidacies for local office. The results also show that there is an almost total absence of feminist agendas in the electoral lists, which fail to present programs aimed at improving the status of women, and the overwhelming majority of local councils and political parties do not appoint women candidates to decision-making positions.
A project for women’s representation in politics
In the conference it was pointed out that the study, which was written by Kayan director Rafah Anebtawi, is part of Kayan’s work and activities for increasing the presence of Arab women in elections and in local councils. The project aims at achieving women’s representation in local politics and decision-making positions by means of intensive and systematic ground work, that focuses on both working directly with women, and with all sector the society via awareness-raising. This is a part of Kayan’s efforts to achieve social justice and to reduce all forms of discrimination, particularly on the grounds of gender.
It was also highlighted that the organization’s starting point stems from the conviction that adequate representation of women in politics is one of the most important factors in the pursuit of equality, as this is a basic human right in a democratic society. Moreover, Kayan firmly believes in the need for ground work that focuses on local investment and promoting and empowering women leaders, as well as raising the necessary awareness of women’s situation in general and their status in local politics.