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No women elected to Fatah Central Committee

Aug. 11, 2009 6:08 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 13, 2009 10:37 P.M.)
Ramallah – Ma’an – Six women stood as candidates on the 89-name list of candidates for the Fatah Central Committee but none were elected to the party’s governing body, sparking the ire of many who hoped women would be better represented.

The results may not be so surprising, however, given that only 241 of the 2,241 voting members at the conference in Bethlehem were women: 10.7%. The last Central Committee for the party had one woman, widow of late PLO leader Khalil Al-Wazir (aka Abu Jihad), Intisar, but she was not re-elected.

Another candidate, Najat Abu Bakr, Palestinian lawmaker from the northern West Bank congratulated the winners but said the “absence of women leaders in any movement is a weakness.”

The other candidates included:

Sahar Al-Qawasmi, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council

Rabiha Thiab, Minister of Women’s Affairs

Maryam Al-Atrash, a leader in the General Union of Palestinian Women, member of the Fatah judiciary

Jamila Saydam, PLC member

Explaining the lack of representation Abu Bakir said “I was supported in these elections by men, and a few women of my close friends,” but noted there were not many women at the conference to begin with. Without making women a priority at all levels, she explained, the party cannot expect to have representation at the top.

“Palestinian society still sees women as supplementary, not as an essential component,” she said. “Even women do not support women; they focus on men and antagonize other women.”

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