Founded in 1994, the Institute of Women’s Studies at Birzeit University (West Bank, Palestine) is among the first academic centers for the study of gender founded in the Middle East region as a whole. Evolving from a long history of Palestinian women’s activism, the Institute provides an academic underpinning to activism and debates around women’s rights, gender relations and social policy in the local and regional context.
The Institute is a recognized leader in terms of its academic programs, and as of 2014 it is delivering the first undergraduate minor in women’s studies in the region. Through both teaching and research programs it has built sustainable competencies in gender aware research across a variety of disciplines, as well as produced a critical body of scholarly and policy research covering the diverse dimensions of gender relations in the Palestinian context. Simultaneously, the Institute continues to play an active role as part of initiatives within Palestinian civil society, in struggles for gender and social equity, as well as national rights.
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.