In municipal elections that took place two weeks before Palestinians elected Mahmoud Abbas as President of the Palestinian Authority in January, women made out surprisingly well, winning 51 seats in 26 localities. Candidates had to struggle hard against the Arab world’s long-ingrained preconception that women belong at home, not in the public sphere. Teacher Maisoun Adarneh, 44, elected to the town council of Yabed, in the West Bank, told the Associated Press that she ran for office “to show support for women and their right to be part of the decision-making process.” She stressed the significance of her and her female colleagues’ victories, in a society where “women are oppressed and have no voice.”
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