In light of increasing employment of Palestinian women outside the home, a survey was undertaken to discover societal attitudes towards such work. Supplemented by focus groups, the survey results demonstrate clearly ambiguous views. In support of women's rights, a overwhelming majority not surprisingly agreed that women's work contributed greatly to the economic level of the family, but many saw it as only a last resort. A large majority perceived such employment as a threat to traditional societal concepts such as malle dominance within the family and the birth of a large number of children. On the other hand, that domestic work and chiuld care should be shared by husband and wife was considered appropriate by three-fourths of the population and that women shoud execise substantial, if not total, control of the money they earn was supported by two-thirds of those surveyed. Nonetheless an overwhelming majority felt that a woman should not accept a job withot consulting her husband or father. Overall, the worsening of economic coditions and erosion of traditional support mechanisms has led to a gradual expansion of women's political and societal roles in Palestinian society. It would be interesting to probe further into, for example, the exact nature of shared domestic responsibilities and to expand the reseaarch to other develping courntires.
Keywords: women's work; women's work outside the home; societal and political role of women; shared domestic responsibilities
Biography: Dr. Faisal Awartani is the CED of Alpha International for Research, Polling and Informatics, located in Ramalla, Palestine. He hs a Ph.D. in statistics from American University in Washington DC and has taught at American University and BirZeit University. Dr. Awartani has served as consultant for the Palestine Cental Bureau of Statistics, the Arab Bank, the Cairo Amman Bank, the Welfare Association, and the British Coucil as well as having worked on USAIDprojects involving education, employment, food security, health, and agriculture.