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The Women Are Marching: The Second Sex and the Palestinian Revolution

The Women Are Marching: The Second Sex and the Palestinian Revolution

by Philippa Strum

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Strum, a Brooklyn College political science professor and a Jew who lived for intervals between 1989 and 1991 in the West Bank town of Ramallah, here seeks to present a fresh, in-depth perspective on the changing sexual and social roles of Palestinian women as a result of the intifada . Strum details the founding of the Women's Work Committee by educated Palestinian women in 1978 and subsequent grassroots recruiting attempts, women's ingenuity in protecting Palestinian men from Israeli soldiers, and the challenges posed to gender roles in a society where women traditionally were not supposed to leave the house. Strum raises disturbing questions about the growing influence of Islamic fundamentalism on West Bank women's lives and about whether women's advances will outlive the occupation. Generally, though, Strum's account is colored by her admitted ``sympathy for the Palestinian independence movement'' and a focus more on the Palestinian cause than on a broader cultural and historical context for discussion of women's roles. Photos not seen by PW . (July)
Library Journal
This sensitive book brings to light a side of the intifada not widely known: the powerful part Palestinian women play in the uprising against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Interviewing them, Strum found no hostility toward herself as a Jew but rather toward Americans for bankrolling a brutal and illegal regime for the past 25 years. As their husbands and children are slaughtered, exiled, or jailed and as their homes, schools, and clinics are demolished, adversity has given these women the strength to take up new roles in business and battle. The question, Strum asks, is whether they will ever return to former subservient positions or remain in the workforce. Like Phyllis Bennis in From Stones to Statehood (Olive Branch, 1990), Strum is sympathetic to the Palestinians and quite critical of Israeli policies. Her book should make Americans think twice about where their taxes are going. Highly recommended. See also Orayb Najjar's Portraits of Palestinian Women , reviewed in this issue, p. 93.--Ed.-- Louise Leonard, Univ. of Florida Libs., Gainesville

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Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
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1st ed

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