Empowered Arab Women 

This is FREE sample
This text is free, available online and used for guidance and inspiration. Need a 100% unique paper? Order a custom essay.
  • Any subject
  • Within the deadline
  • Without paying in advance
Get custom essay

Israel has many flaws but it also has made many accomplishments and continues to strive and work on its inequality everyday. One of the ways in which it works to defuse some of its inequality is empowering Arab women in Israel through individual rights. In this research paper I’m going to show how Israel’s individual rights has empowered Arab women. In the published article by Elie Rekhess called The Evolvement of an Arab Palestinian National Minority in Israel in 2007, where he stated two types of rights: collective rights and individual rights. An individual right is the rights all human beings deserve, independent of their membership in any specific group (Rekhess, 3). However, in Amalia Sa’ar’s article on gender and power among Arabs in Israel she zones in on women and their societal roles in the community but also goes into the empowerment of women through strengthening their individual rights.

Arab women statistically are more educated than their Arab men counterparts. They not only strive for an education more, but it is socially accepted and the only way for them to get a reasonably paid job. Not to mention that the education for Arab women is free and also have welfare benefits. There are voting rights as well. A lot of Arab women in Palestinian and other Arab communities contribute to the family income and get their degrees. It is often common in the 21st century, for the woman of the house to be educated. The Arab women are known to partake in “Soft Professions” compared to Arab men that partake in “Hard Professions”; when soft is referenced they usually mean Arab women working in the educational fields, however, some do focus on engineering and computer science as well. Studies have been showing that the Arab women in Israel have been taking their education much more seriously and less for granted than their Israeli counterparts. In conclusion, individual rights have empowered Arab women mainly through education and the labor market.

Arab women in Israel have individual rights, according to Elie Rekhess. As Rekhess stated in his article, The Evolvement of an Arab Palestinian National Minority in Israel, that in May 14, 1948, also known as Israel’s Proclamation of Independence, Israel granted its Arab residents individual rights (Rekhess, 4). Having been granted with individual citizen rights, the Arabs had many benefits, such as “The status of Arabic as an official language, a separate educational system. with Arabic as the language of instruction, group exemption from compulsory military service , recognition of Muslim personal status laws and a religious court system, the right to observe days of rest and holidays, and partial implementation of the principle of “appropriate representation” in the Israeli civil service.” (Rekhess, 4). And although many things have changed and shifted since 1948, the Arab women have benefited the most from the educational system put in place for them for reasons that will be discussed.

In the article by Amalia Sa’ar called, Feminine Strength: Reflections on Power and Gender in Israeli-Palestinian Culture, she hones in on the societal roles that women are to play. She refers to strong women as “qawiyyi”, as she argued in her article “ I present ethnographic documentation of resourceful women who are commonly referred to as qawiyyi (strong), and offer the term “feminine strength” to talk about what I see as a normative script for “proper” handling of femininity and power.” (Sa’ar, 397). Sa’ar describes the qawiyyi as an embodiment of the ongoing attempts of their community to uphold a moral existence, while balancing formidable constraints and new opportunities (Sa’ar, 397-398). The Arab-Israeli women are bold and balance a lot of social norms while trying to create their own new social norms. They mainly do this through their education. They further their studies and beat odds to be able to break more boundaries.

“For a qawiyyi derives her prestige, first and foremost, from her excellent performance in a wide range of feminine roles. She is a superb home-maker, mother, and wife, and often she also holds down a paying job, continues her education, and occasionally gets involved in different social and political activities.” (Sa’ar, 408). This word is commonly used as a compliment to a woman and even if sometimes it comes off as intimidating, that is how social norms are slowly but surely being broken down. Sa’ar gives certain examples of various women and their experiences with being a qawiyyi and what it means to them and how it has empowered them. In one specific example she mentions a woman who gets full support from her husband, which is not very conventional. He not only paid for her education but left the house renovations under her control, and supported her when she would stay out late because of her social activism.

This woman is making a societal difference by staying out late for social activism instead of staying home with the kids like most women do. She is practically out all day, going from school to social activism. But what was mentioned first was her education, which seems to be what started it all. The influence behind all of the inspiring societal breakouts that has been happening. Their learnings are making a debut and influence into their daily lives and affecting their children and husbands in the most positive ways. Sa’ar defines the women in her article as westerners in certain ways with the ways they are educated and well versed with the world outside of their homes, “They are outgoing, literally as well as metaphorically, up-to-date with Western styles, wage earners, preferably also educated, and sophisticatedly acquainted with the world outside their home.” (Sa’ar, 421).

Being well acquainted with the world outside helps a person teach better lessons to their children and to inspire them as to why education is so significant. Sa’ar illustrates this by explaining how education contributes to a household, “Women’s advanced education is seen as greatly contributing to their role of coaching their children through the daily school assignments, which is regarded an essential component of modern parenting. Likewise, their knowledge of Hebrew and their bureaucratic literacy are reinvested in efficient home making.” (Sa’ar, 421). We see through the life examples that Sa’ar has provided us with as to how these individual rights towards Arab women are playing out mainly through education which also further helps them significantly inspire their families back at home, and most importantly helps them become a part of the working world, which now holds a majority of the Arab women who are Israeli residents; however, even without the education they have been breaking norms by just working ordinary jobs and becoming one of the breadwinners of the family.

In a piece by Erez Aharon Marantz called, Globally Themed Organizations as Labor Market Intermediaries: The Rise of Israeli-Palestinian Women’s Employment in Retail from the book called Retail Organizations and Minority Women’s Employment, Marantz examines the labor-market incorporation of minority women, in specific Israeli-Palestinian women. He starts off his article by stating that women’s and minorities’ employment has risen significantly over the past decades (Marantz, 595). He proves his claims with statistics that are made from a close analysis throughout the years, “Despite salient gender and ethnic boundaries, Israeli-Palestinian women’s labor-force participation rose from 5 percent to about 30 percent between 1985 and 2010 (ICBS 2011).” (Marantz, 596). That huge increase has helped make a significant breakthrough throughout the societal and political norms.

Integrating Arab women in heavily populated Jewish areas has helped bring the women throughout Israel together more so than before. This shows coexistence between the two dominant groups, creating a beacon of hope for the people that want both parties to exist. As stated by Marantz that the rise of Israeli-Palestinian women’s employment has occurred alongside the expansion of globally themed consumer malls in Israel (Marantz, 600). Both Israeli-Palestinian and Jewish employers are mutually perceived as legitimate actors and therefore seen as somewhat equals in the labor market world. However, education has played a significant role in the labor market and the rate in which the women get jobs or are payed, “Recent years have witnessed a small, but growing, somewhat less impoverished Israeli-Palestinian middle class (Dagan-Buzaglo and Konor-Attias 2013). This social group presents slightly lower levels of residential segregation and higher levels of education and engagement in Western culture and consumption (Kanaaneh 2002; Monterescu and Rabinowitz 2007).” (Marantz, 599). Segregation is lowered due to the ones who are educated and have learned a means of coexistence through going to school with each other or leaning about one another through the educational system.

Arab women continue to make progress in the job markets and educational world. As the piece written by Shoshanna Solomon, Arab Israeli women make inroads in education, job market, study says, in the online newspaper called The Times of Israel states that Arab Israeli women and Jewish women are closing the educational and employment gaps with each other. Many of the Arab Israeli women focus on careers in the saturated field of education and a smaller segment studies or pursues work in more lucrative fields such as computers and engineering (Solomon).

More Arab Israeli women are going into the science and engineering majors in high school subjects. Over 70% of Arab Israeli women who qualify for a matriculation certificate study these majors, compared with only 39% of Jewish women, the study showed (Solomon). The Arab Israeli women are taking the world by a storm and leading the educational future and keep striving to break the norms that had been set for them and creating their own norms. Meanwhile, during the process learning to cohabitate with their Jewish counterparts. There is an increased number of Arab Israeli women enrolling and investing in higher education than the Arab Israeli men’s’ population. Even though there are more educated Jewish and Christian women than there is a lower number of muslim women that are educated, it is still a significant rise over the past decades.

The education that these women are foregoing is bridging the tumultuous gap that has been there for decades by letting the women work in the labor markets and get educated together. Solomon mentioned a recent interview stating, “In a recent interview with The Times of Israel, Aharon Aharon, the head of the Israel Innovation Authority, said Israeli Arabs could account for as much as 20% of the local technology force.” (Solomon). The technological world of Israel is booming beyond what anyone would have ever thought and among many of the Israeli residents working in this technological industry are the Arab-Israelis and many women are now going into engineering as well, there is a rise of women in these industries as well. The majority have been acknowledging that a significant part of the future lays in the young Arab-Israeli women’s hands and that they will bring great opportunities and changes within the political and societal sphere.

Another study about the analysis of 28 therapy cases dealing with couples and 17 cases dealing with married women was written about by Khawla Abu Baker in the article called, Career Women” or “Working Women”? Change versus Stability for Young Palestinian Women in Israel. All of the people analyzed were thoroughly educated. It is found that many young Arab women want to marry man with a more feminist and equal outlook towards marriage and the world, “Many young Arab women assume that an educated man should hold gendered egalitarian attitudes.” (Baker, 95).

The traditional male figurehead is called “si sayyed” in arabic meaning “the master”, and the more educated young Arab women are not interested or attracted to that trait. As Baker stated in the article “Arab women see young educated men as being the opposite of si sayyed. They are mainly attracted to men who have graduated from European universities on the assumption that a person who has studied in the West must have learned Western norms regarding women’s equal rights.” (Baker, 95). Education is clearly making a huge difference in young Arab-Israeli women’s lives. Slowly but surely education is becoming a must for both genders and playing into a new social norm for them, making it a requirement for a suitable match for marriage.

Women are also getting a stronger desire to work, for the past few decades the numbers for older middle aged married women are having an increased rise in the labor market. However, with the newfound interest science and engineering majors it seems as though young Arab-Israeli women are going to slowly but surely have a rise in jobs in higher fields that they have studied for instead of just the educational fields. Many things in their world will never change there is a deep cultural outlook seeded into their religion and it may improve but it will never go away. The Arab-Israeli women have learned how to make a balance between their world and the modern educational world that they so dearly want to be a part of.

In conclusion, Arab-Israeli women do have individual rights due to the fact that their numbers in educated women are on a significant rise and many Arab women work in Jewish dominated labor markets creating a coexisting bubble. Creating a happy medium for the country, with their Israeli Jewish counterparts not working on Saturday, the holy day of rest for the Jewish people, the Arab-Israeli women take over and work on those days creating a harmony and equal balance between the two worlds. There is still a long road ahead of Israel but educating women within a minority is not a concern that the country should have. And above that there is a solid amount of gender equality as well, while there is always room for improvement they achieve more and more everyday and break social and political norms through the power of labor markets and education.

Many Arab societies don’t have both male and female partners contributing to the family income but in Israel’s society it is common, this equality has infiltrated into the Arab-Israeli societies as well; mainly leaving a mark on the Arab-Israeli women. Individual rights means that you have rights that all human beings deserve, this is something that the Arab-Israeli women in specific have, they are able to have higher education and work with their Jewish-Israeli counterparts. And although Israel still has a long way to come before total equality it is a work in progress that does grant its Arab-Israeli women equal rights through the labor market and higher education.

Works Cited

  1. Rekhess, Elie. “The Evolvement of an Arab-Palestinian National Minority in Israel.” Israel Studies, vol. 12, no. 3, 2007, pp. 1–28., doi:10.2979/isr.2007.12.3.1.
  2. Marantz, E. A., et al. “Globally Themed Organizations as Labor Market Intermediaries: The Rise of Israeli-Palestinian Women’s Employment in Retail.” Social Forces, vol. 93, no. 2, 2014, pp. 595–622., doi:10.1093/sf/sou085.
  3. Sa’ar, Amalia. Economic Citizenship: Neoliberal Paradoxes of Empowerment. Berghahn Books, 2016.
  4. Solomon, Shoshanna. “Arab Israeli Women Make Inroads in Education, Job Market, Study Says.” The Times of Israel, 4 Mar. 2018.
  5. Sa’ar, Amalia. “Feminine Strength: Reflections on Power and Gender in Israeli-Palestinian Culture.” Anthropological Quarterly, George Washington University Institute for Ethnographic Research, 7 Sept. 2006

Cite this paper

Empowered Arab Women . (2021, Oct 31). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/empowered-arab-women/

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Peter is on the line!

Don't settle for a cookie-cutter essay. Receive a tailored piece that meets your specific needs and requirements.

Check it out