Like in many other regions of the Middle East, the survey data indicates that educational attainment in the occupied territories has improved remarkably over the past decades for both men and, particularly, women. The effect of greatly improved educational levels on social mobility among Palestinians is open to debate. Among other factors, there are only very limited opportunities to transform education into middle class employment, especially for women, as will be shown in a subsequent chapter. Although for men education seems to induce less fatalistic attitudes to life's tribulations, for neither men nor women do increased educational skills seem to diminish significantly the importance of social solidarities, especially those to the family, in determining eventual individual success and achievement. Nor does educational attainment seem to counteract to any degree deeper organizational principles based on the ascribed attributes of gender and age in affecting a sense of empowerment and the distribution of authority.

In relation to attitudes towards women, the attitudes of women themselves seem forcefully to contest prevailing norms which operate to limit their independence of choice and which are adhered to by a large majority of men. Education seems to function mainly to reinforce this opposition. With regard to men's attitudes, in all areas the survey explores, the acceptability of women working, of dress style, of the right to choose their own husband and so forth, it is education rather than age that shifts men's attitudes in a more liberal direction and education seems to influence attitudes greatly. One conclusion that might be drawn from this data could be that measures to affect improvements in the status of women and attitudes toward them should be chiefly directed toward men. The aspiration among women of all age groups and educational levels to a life style which is less subservient and more under their own control seems already to exist.


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