2. What were the social and political experiences of women in Palestine?
The political movement in Palestine was volunteer. The leadership ended up mostly being single women because most of the women involved in the movement were married, had family responsibilities. They funded it themselves. They werent working-class women who were burdened with jobs. They had more leisure. Many of them had some household help, for example. That being said, they were extremely active during certain periods. They were formally organized.
Saida Jarallah was not one of the major leaders of this movement. She ended up being an educator, and most of her sisters and sisters-in-law were as well. And this was one of the major respectable areas for a woman of that class to work. Many of these young women were not educated towards any career. To be educated in the context of this place and time had a very specific connotation. Being educated meant more than actually having an education. It meant being of a certain mindset. The word that people used in referring to these women was muthaqqafat, which comes from the word for culture muthaqaffa.
There was not a lot of difference in the experience of Muslim and Christian women of this generation. The common tie, which many of them spoke about, was the fact that they were educated at the same schools.
One woman even mentioned how she felt that the fact that they were all educated together created a sense of common bond and culture.
We never felt the difference. We were all the same. We were educated and never felt any difference but the old generation used to differentiate between both Christians and Muslims. We used to live together in boarding schools and in the training college and as members of the same associations. Miss Wahbi, [who was a Christian educator in Palestine during the Mandate period], was my teacher in the training college and her sister Sofi taught me in Schmidt [another school]. We lived together like sisters and never felt any difference. We used to love each other.