Palestine’s local elections, scheduled for October 8, have generated much excitement on the streets of Gaza and the West Bank – the first elections to be held since the Hamas-Fatah split in 2007.
However, they have also managed to provoke controversy after some of the female candidates' names were concealed, with the politicians being listed only as “sister” or “the wife of…”
This is serious step back for Palestines political scene, says Director of a Coalition of Women’s Organisations in the Gaza Strip, Nadia Abu Nahla.
“Women were partners (with men) throughout the struggle. Therefore it is a disgrace for any national or independent list to withhold the names of women,” she told Middle East Monitor.
The controversy is being brought to light on social media, with many taking to twitter to protest with the Arabic hashtag “#أسماؤنا_ليست_عورة.” It roughly translates to “our names are not to be ashamed of."
كل الإحترام لكل رجل يفخر بإسم زوجته وأخته وأمه وجدته -ومن لها فضل عليه- ولا ينسى فضلهن عليه.#أسماؤنا_من_نور#أسماؤنا_ليست_عوره— Eman Nahed ElJerjawi (@EmanElJerjawi) August 31, 2016
All respect to every man who is proud of his wife, sister, mother and grandmother names, or who ever women who helped him in his life, and he never forgets their good deeds to him.
اخفاء اسم المرشحات عرض لمشكلة أكبر وليس المشكلة بحد ذاتها ، مشكلة ظلم المرأة المتمثل في تحييدها وفصلها عن المجتمع.#اسماؤنا_ليست_عورة— معتصم ️ (@Muatsim) August 30, 2016
My mother name is “Na’eemeh”, and my wife is “Majdoleen”, my daughter is “Tala”, and my sisters are “Manal” and “Safaa”, my nieces are “Jody”, and “Hala”. Women are society and they are addressing pride.
اسم أمي "نعيمة" وزوجتي "ماجدولين" وبنتي "تالا" وخواتي "منال" و "صفاء" وبنات أختي "جودي" و حلا— Mohammad Y. Hasna (@mhasna1981) August 29, 2016
النساءالمجتمع وهن عنوان فخر#أسماؤنا_ليست_عورة
Hiding female candidate names shows bigger problem not the problem itself, the problem is being unfair to woman and leave her aside and separate her from society.
The hiding of women’s names is not limited to Palestine, and is common in many countries throughout the Arab world. Many men refuse to reveal their mother’s name in public, for example, driven by the fear that she would become the subject of shame and ridicule. Rather, she is referred to as only as ‘The mother of [her eldest son]’.
Last year, UN Women launched the #MyMothersNameIs campaign, to encourage the acknowledgment of women as individuals and disassociate womenn’s names from any shame or embarrassment.