Dichotomy of caretakers and fighters

My research project focuses on women in Palestine, and their participation in resistance against the Israeli occupation, and against Palestinian patriarchy. It seems obvious that gender is relevant to my research, as I wish to explore how women adopt masculinity in their resistance against Israeli occupation, or at times to mock the masculinity of male participants in the resistance.

Palestinian women have often played an important role in maintaining the cohesion of the community and mobilizing civil society, while the men are either detained or out fighting the Israeli occupation. [1]However, there are examples of women joining armed resistance and it is interesting how they adopt masculinity either to shame the men or to take agency over their bodies. In that sense, there exists a dichotomy of the portrayal of Palestinian women; either the mothers and caretakers of Palestine, or the fighters.

As a result, there are many aspects to how one can view women’s engagement with the Israeli occupation and Palestinian patriarchy through the gender framework, and conversely how male agents use feminity and women against the Israeli occupation or inscription of power as a result of their powerlessness because of the occupation.



[1] Sherna Berger Gluck, “Palestinian Women: Gender Politics and Nationalism,” Journal of Palestine Studies 24, no 3 (1995): 8.


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