Strengthening the Collective Voice: Palestinian Woman NGO Leaders


Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) play an important role in the Palestinian community and play an important role in providing basic services to the Palestinian people. NGOs have to carefully contemplate what types of programs they wish to implement in their organization. This is particularly crucial for woman leaders in NGOs, who have historically played a diverse role in shaping society. Women NGO leaders must not only ponder the conditional funding that could assist their organization, but they must also determine whether the agendas of donors are for the betterment of Palestinians in general and woman in particular.

For women in Palestine, trying to achieve this becomes complicated for the simple reason that Palestinian women are not only dealing with traditional issues of equality, empowerment, and the freedom of whether or not they are able to participate in shaping their civil society, but they are also trying to overcome difficulties caused by 38 years of Occupation. When are women fighting for the liberation of Palestine and when are they fighting for their own emancipation? How do the two contribute to the overall shape of what is Palestinian civil society? The question this research explores, then, is: What perceptions do women NGO leaders feel they play in contributing to shaping Palestinian civil society? The sub questions are: According to women managers, what do they view as contributing factors in advancing women’s rights? What are the women’s general perceptions as to what is promoting or keeping woman in Palestine from participating fully in civil society? What do they believe are the defining characteristics of a leader? What perceptions do they convey as to who these women leaders feel should be leading Palestinian civil society? The research is qualitative, and seven women are interviewed. Their perceptions and views are recorded.

The women that participated in this research felt a strong tie with their personal values and vision and the work that their organizations accomplished. Many of the women saw their role in society as directly linked to the organization’s work. However, this does not necessarily mean that without the organization they would not be contributing to the shaping of civil society. On the contrary, the organizations served as a vehicle for implementing programs and activities that they were committed to.

This study can serve many purposes. This can be used by development practitioners to assess what skills and attributes are deemed necessary for women to succeed in leadership positions. Programs can be designed to ensure that women are given basic skills in program management, as well as building on the women’s knowledge in the developmental, political, and social context in which they live.


Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Women's Studies

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