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Women's roles in Hamas slowly evolve

The Hamas movement is keen to encourage women’s participation in military and social life, depending on women to mobilize support.
Hamas policewomen take part in a graduation ceremony for members of Hamas security forces in Gaza City December 17, 2012. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY) - RTR3BO8W

Since its inception in late 1987, Hamas has focused on women's activities, acknowledging the role of women in upbringing the individual, family and community. Hamas’ interest in women’s affairs has been evident since the early stages of the movement’s formation, when women occupied regulatory positions. Hamas formed the women’s work committee in the late 1980s as a regulatory committee like any other in the movement, with its own budget and public activities.

Rajaa al-Halabi, the head of the women's movement within Hamas, told Al-Monitor, “Hamas views women as a main pillar of Palestinian society, and not as subordinate to men. Since the movement’s inception, women have assumed advanced positions in Hamas and have left their marks in the various organizational committees, thanks to the directives of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder of the movement, who allowed in 1987 their access to senior positions within Hamas.”

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