Palestinian women’s political participation is marked by the Israeli occupation and a volatile political situation. This chapter argues that the political chaos following the Oslo Agreement of 1993 has led to civil society fragmentation and the marginalisation of certain groups. However, women’s traditional involvement within the Palestinian national movement led to their assumption that society would adopt a non-gender biased perspective during elections.
Disappointing results led to the formation of a coalition to campaign for a quota system. Now, following its introduction, Palestinian women are faring much better than many of their other Middle Eastern counterparts in terms of political representation. However, although this chapter points to the importance of affirmative action in triggering increases in women’s political participation; the context of persistent insecurity and siege which overshadows their lives means women are unable to wield any real political power and implement the improvements within their communities which they hoped entering politics would allow them to do.