The Philosophy behind the Activities and Programs at the Cooperative

No one can deny the fact that the state of Palestinian women has shifted drastically during a period that span for three decades. The truth is that the advancement of the Palestinian women, enhancing their capacities, empowering them in education and work, and allowing them participation in the public life takes on a serious note in society starting with women themselves. With the existence of an educated group of women, women began to realize their backward state and understood that a gap existed between them and men. Women began seeking to change their reality, and wanted to show their caliber in society and to prove they were equally capable. With a growing interest in the Palestinian Authority towards advancing women and to support the development process as both beneficial and a beneficiary, good support of in public sectors notably in the non-governmental sector, and relying on their realities as well as the studies conducted: all these interests combined resulted in viewing women as an effective body whether in policy making or development. These interests proved that a woman’s role in the society is equal to that of a man, and that she has to be integrated in the social, economic, cultural and political structures of a society. Therefore, the Kalandia Camp Women’s Handicraft Cooperative views education, work and public participation as a crucial preface towards empowering women and making use of their abilities. The relationship between work, development, and the employment market is integral. Education, at all of levels is the backbone of development. Through education one can develop human resources and invest in them. Investment in the human resources will result with a social and economic development.

In the Palestinian society today, education is of a great importance. It forms a basic principle in the development process and in different social and economic transformations. For females, their education forms 67 Kalandia Camp handicraft Cooperative Fifty one year from continuous giving a critical importance and the education level a woman has reached has formed a fundamental prospect in the advancement of women. Today, there is a general agreement from both women and men that educating women forms a decisive component in the process of empowering women, as it provided women with knowledge about the relationship between genders: husbands, brothers, and friends. It empowered many to understand their rights and responsibilities. With education, women began to employ their knowledge while participating in the development process; more so, education means security and safety for many. As women view their situation and look towards the future they realize that with education they are safer. Current reality shows that education is in favor of women more than any other time in the past. Equality is fairly absolute, and the right for education is clear: Formal and social efforts move today towards encouraging women to participate in the technical education and vocational training which is still dominated by males. Simply women have to take advantage of all of these interests and trends and they must try their best to surpass any obstacles especially that with Palestinian society there may still be major obstacles and preventatives: Favoring the education of the son by the parents as opposed to the daughter which has always created a statistical gap between genders in education.

Regarding work and economic participation, this is another way to support women’s status. It is the other face for empowering women and developing their abilities. It drives women and their families from focusing on women as the member of the family that gives birth, to becoming an equally productive member of that family. It became apparent that with work, especially women’s participation in the paid goods and services industries, has left a clear mark on women especially a woman’s self-value as a productive member that is reliable and versatile. This role has enticed many women to get to know their rights and practice them especially the political rights. For many, work means career, income, profiting, social and economic statuses; it also means contributing to the development process all of which have social as well as psychological impact on a working woman. There is a general appreciation and acceptance in the society towards women’s labor away from home boundaries despite the fact that there still remains certain boundaries imposed upon women due to the system of social customs and values which affect the economic contributions of women. Supporting

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