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Need to Know: Palestinian Women Join the Police Force

Hamas has been recruiting women to join the Gaza police force ever since the group gained power. Policewomen are not combating Israeli forces; instead they will address gender-sensitive cases such as prostitution.

Trying to merge a changing role for women with religious tradition has been tricky. According to the New York Times:

"One recruit, Fatma, 27, wears only a head scarf, which leaves her face exposed. But she complained that it was hard to run in her long Islamic robe, known as a jilbab. She said that her bosses were thinking of designing a new uniform for easier movement. 'They are talking about pants, and a jilbab that is open on both sides.'"

Participation in the police force is much more positive than the increase in female suicide bombers seen in Iraq. Still, the New York Times article goes on to offer examples of how the Gaza criminal justice system fails women. To find out how,


Recent inmates included a 15-year-old girl whose family said she had been raped by her 22-year-old cousin. Four female relatives were in the jail with her, endangered by accusations that they had failed to promptly inform the head of the family of the rape and a subsequent pregnancy. The male cousin was free. The 15-year-old gave birth to a baby girl after the rape, but her brother “threw away” the newborn.

It is fascinating to discover the different ways women are impacted, as Hamas tries to bring much-needed security to the Gaza strip.


Arthur Arthur 9 years
They are using those women to enforce their barbaric, anti women policies. Look at the picture! You think Hamas wants to give women any sort of equal rights? Spare me. Why doesn't the NYT write a glowing article about how Hamas pioneered using women as suicide bombers.
minaminamina minaminamina 9 years
I'm glad that Hamas, which has (once again, kay) been honoring its cease-fire against Israel, is hiring women. I'm equally sad that such crimes against women go unpunished in the territories, but one day, with all hopes, Palestinians will have a proper government, and not merely be occupied peoples.
Kaysnowboarder Kaysnowboarder 9 years
One very very small step but let's not forget that Hamas is a terrorist organization.
kaenai kaenai 9 years
Thank you for sharing this with us. I think news like this is important for women everywhere to hear. It's not been very long since women here were dealing with disrespect and dismissal, and not quite as long as we think since we had to deal with very similar issues - being ostracized after a rape or incest. It's wonderful to hear that women are not only allowed to, but are interested in taking active roles in prevention and care of victims of these crimes.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Wow! That is amazing! This is good news to hear actally!
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