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September 12, 1980 - Image 27

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-09-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Statistics Prove Gains of Arab Women

(Editor's note: In ad-
vance of last July's World
Conference of the United
nations Decade for
Women in Copenhagen,
the Institute of Jewish
Affairs in London pre-
pared several reports on
the status of Arab
women. The following
material is taken from the
institute's report on "The
Conditions of Palestinian
Arab Women in the Ad-
nistered Territories.)
Before the 1967 war,
women played only a mini-
mal role in the labor force in
the West Bank and Gaza
Strip. Their major economic
role was within the family
unit, including labor for the
family farm. This has
gradually changed under
the Israeli administration
on the West Bank (but ap-
parently not in Gaza).
While in 1968 the number
of women in the labor force
on the West Bank was
13,600, it rose to 25,700 by
1978. It is still a small fig-
ure, indicating that tradi-
tional habits change slowly,
but it is an increase of 89.0
percent with-in a decade,
while the corresponding in-
crease of the total female
population was only 14.6
percent (from 300,200 to
344,300).
Also important is the
growing participation of
women in the labor force,
outside agriculture. In 1968
only 4,800 women (35.3 per-
cent of the female labor
force) worked in other
branches of the economy; by
1978 this figure had risen to
13,500 or 52.5 percent.
The advance in the so-
cial and economic inde-
pendence of women was
facilitated by the in-
crease in the number of
kindergartens in the
Administered Territories
from 3,850 in the year
1968-1968 to 11,328 in
1977-1978 (an increase of
187.9 percent).
As the UN Economic
Commission for Western
Asia report states, "the
number of women working
in the field of education,
nursing and welfare serv-
ices is increasing." Equally,
the report mentions that
"the occupation authorities
set up seven vocational
training centers, supervised
by the government, to train
women in sewing and em-
broidery." The same infor-
mation is confirmed by Is-
raeli sources which also
mention training in
dressmaking and cosmetics
among the wide range of
*eaching programs for
)men.
The welfare services have
also increased. The number
of welfare offices rose from
12 in 1967 to 28 in 1978-
1979 (133.3 percent), the
number of persons em-
ployed in these services rose
from 150 in 1968 to 297 in
1978 (98.0 percent), while
the number of families as-
sisted increased more than
tenfold, from 828 in 1967 to
8,412 in 1978-1979.
The general standard
of living in the Adminis-
tered Territories is, of

course, not a matter
specific to women, but it
is nevertheless worth
mentioning that private
consumption expendi-
ture rose from 767 million
Israeli pounds in 1968 to
222.5 million in 1978 (cal-
culated in 1968 prices) —
an increase of 190.1 per-
cent, and that the gross
domestic capital forma-
tion in the same period
rose from 36 million to
399 million Israeli
pounds (at 1968 prices),
i.e. 1008.3 percent over
the period or more than
100 percent each year.
According to Israeli re-'
ports, "the Administration
has in no way interfered
with the traditional Arab
education system; the only
change made was the elimi-
nation of anti-Semitic and
anti-Israel slanders and
hate propaganda in the
textbooks."
Under the Israel adminis-
tration, however, there has
been a remarkable increase
in educational services. The
number of educational in-
stitutions rose from 978 in
1967-1968 to 1,269 by
1977-1978, i.e. an increase
of almost a third in 10 years.
The increase in the total
school population was even
greater: 222,166 in 1967-
1968 to 367,609 in 1976-
1977 — a 65.4 percent in-
crease in a decade. Particu-
larly marked was the rise in
the number of girl pupils:
from 91,591 in 1967-1968 to
158,538 in 1976-1977, i.e.
73.1 percent — another
indication of the improved
status of women in the Ad-
ministered Territories.
The number of people
employed in education
services increased from
2,253 in 1968 to 10,803 in
1978. As of 1978, there
were four teacher train-
ing institutions, one in
Hebron and three in
Ramallah, of which one is
specially for women
(maintained by the UN-
RWA).
Where there were no uni-
versities in 1967, there are
now four: Bir Zeit Univer-
sity (1,065 students), the
Freres University in
Bethlehem (519 students),
the al-Najah University in
Nablus (1,399 students) and
the Islamic Shari'a College
in Hebron (460 students).

During the Israel ad-
ministration, the health
services expanded consid-
erably. As of 1978, there
were 17 hosptials on the
West Bank, of which nine
are run by the government,
and in Gaza there are eight
hospitals of which seven are
governmental.
Of particular revelance is
the fact that a number of
gynecology-obstetrics de-
partments have been
opened in the hospitals
since 1967, notably in 1970
in Hebron and Ramallah, in
1971 in Jenin, in 1972 in
Tulkarem, and in 1976 in
Sheefa in the GazaStrip. By
now, every governmental
hospital on the West Bank
has a gynecological-
obstetrics department.
As a result of the expan-

sion of these services, the played a decisive role in the
number of births in hospital fact that live births in-
has increased. In 1967 it creased from 41,000 in 1968
was only 11.4 percent of all to 54,000 in 1978, an in-
births; by 1978 it rose to crease of 31.4 percent (com-
41.9 percent on the West pared with a population 'in-
Bank and 32.8 percent in crease of 15.8 percent only).
It would be wrong to
the Gaza Strip.
A number of new cen- pretend that the Israel
ters for the care of Administration has
mothers and infants have solved the social and
been opened and the old economic problems in the
ones renovated and Administered Ter-
supplied with modern ritories, whether for the
equipment. On the West general Palestinian Arab
Bank six new Maternal population or in particu-
and Child Health Care lar for the women.
Quite apart from political
Centers have been
opened, and the toal problems, there remain
many aspects of the social
number as of 1978 is 29.
These MCH centers "have and economic situation
played a decisive role in the which ought to be consider-
promotion of hygiene and ably bettered. But the facts
the health of pregnant cited indicate an impressive
women and new-born advance during the period
babies — an area which was since 1967, which is all the
completely neglected until more remarkable because it
1967. They fulfilled an edu- has been achieved against
cational role among future the background of ter-
mothers, provided regular rorism, hostility, intimida-
check-ups for them and ex- tion and, as a result, often
panded vaccination among complete lack of co-
operation by the people con-
babies.
No doubt these measures cerned.

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