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Volume Three Winter 2003-Spring 2004 Numbers 3-4.
PATTERNS OF LABOR DIVISION AMONG PALESTINIAN FAMILIES IN THE WEST BANK
Faculty of Social Welfare & Health Studies
School of Social Work, University of Haifa
Published online: February 10, 2017
This article examines the division of labor among Palestinian families in the West Bank. It explores how various chores are divided between spouses, both in rural and urban Arab communities, in terms of facts and subjective perceptions. The research sample comprised of 240 couples where both husbands and wives were interviewed. Families were selected from six urban communities, eight villages, and eight refugee camps from the West Bank, with equal representation of eighty couples of each category. Interviews were conducted in Arabic with Arabic-speaking male and female interviewers. Participants were interviewed about the division of labor in their household on two levels: descriptive and perceptive. The division of labor was measured by a list of family roles: household, children, contacts with agencies and financial matters. The findings suggest that the traditional distinction between typical female and male roles still holds. However, there are indications of the modernization process which the Palestinians are currently undergoing. These indicators relate to more women taking over some of the traditionally defined male roles and in having both spouses participating in what has been traditionally perceived as female roles. In addition, a discrepancy between the declared and the practical positions regarding the division of labor was observed.