Biographical Appendix of Women Activists 3

  1. Zleikha Shihābi (1901-1992), born in Jerusalem. She attended the Sisters of Zion School in Jerusalem. She founded the first women organization in Jerusalem “ Arab Women Executive Committee” in 1929. She is remembered for gathering three hundred women from different places from Palestine and demonstrated at the British High commissioner to protest against the Jewish immigration to Palestine in 1929.  Her work focused on charitable campaigns to support Palestinian fighters and injured and their families. She campaigned for girls’ education. She led the first women demonstration in 1936 to the British High Commissioner to protest the detention and later deportation of some of the Palestinian revolution leaders.  Zleikha Shihābi was a major contributor to the establishment of the Arab Women Union in Jerusalem in 1921.  Her father became the mayor of Jerusalem in 1927.

In the photo that inspired this research, Zleikha Shihābi stands next to Huda Sha’rawi.  Together Zleikha worked with the Egyptian Women Council and its Chief, Sha’rawi on campaigning against the judaization plans for Palestine and exploit the British policies .The First Congress of Arab Women in Cairo, that focused on issues related to Palestine in 1938.

Zleikha Shihābi continued to efficiently contribute to the women movement in Palestine. She helped establish many centers that included the women medical clinic that cared for pregnant women and children welfare. This extended for a day care and vocational training center for women. She remained the president of the    AWU from 1937 until her death in 1944[1]

In 1968 the Israelis deported her, but the United Nations interfered in her return. [2]

  1. Asma Tūbi (1905-1983), born in Nazareth. She studied in the English school in Nazareth. She was active during the British occupation, she was among the founders of Acre Women union in 1929, and remained active there until 1948, when she left to Lebanon after the Nakba, and continued to write articles, novels and poetry. She died in Lebanon and left seven novels and tens of articles.[3][4]
  1. Sadhij Nassār (19—), born in Acre. Sadhij worked as an editor in Carmel. She was the first Palestinian journalist to enter jail during the British period. She was sentenced to a year in prison on March 1939. And she was accused for being “a very dangerous woman”. Her husband wrote what looks prominent in today’s patriarchal world of Arabs when he said: “ if al Carmel didn’t make me enter history, I will enter it because of my wife, who is the first woman who is sentenced in British jails”. Sadhij’s father was a prominent Baha’i leader and sheikh. She got married to Najeeb Nassār who owned al Carmel paper that was published in Haifa in 1908. Sadhij was also in charge of editing the woman’s section in the newspaper in 1926 (Sahifat al Nisā’)She started in the thirties an independent paper under the name of “ Risālet al Carmel”, and she became the editor in chief for al Carmel al jadīd between 1941-1944.[5] [6]
  1. Zahiya Nashashibi, born in Jerusalem. She was among the activists in the women’s movement in Palestine. She participated in the different Arab Conventions she was among the founders of the Arab Women’s Union in Jerusalem in 1928. She participated in the demonstrations of the 1929 and the thirties revolt. Zahiya was the competitor of Zleikha Shihābi over the presidency of the Arab Women Association. The rivalry between the Husseini’s and the Nashashibi was the main cause of this fracture among women associations, which resulted in the formation of the Arab Women Union. After the breach Shihābi became the president of the AWU. Zahiya succeeded Shahinda Duzdār in heading the AWA in 1946 and held the position until her death in 1977.[7]
  1. Maīmanah al Qassām (1911-2004), born in Haifa. The daughter of ‘Izz el dĪn al Qassām who was martyred in 1935 by the British Army. Maīmanah was a smart girl. She recited the Qur’ān at the age of 6. She only finished elementary school and was supposed to go to dar al Mu’allimāt. But she couldn’t because her father refused to teach there. A condition the administration put in order to accept her. She was active during the 1936 revolt. She gave speech in the mosque of Haīfa in that year in an attempt to motivate the people for the strike. In 1938 she received an invitation to participate to the First Arab women Congress in Cairo and she was among the Palestinian delegation. She gave a speech that was widely spread in the papers. In the 1948 she became a refugee with her family in Jordan, where she worked there as a teacher and remained until she died. [8]

[1] Encyclopedia of Palestine.زليخة-الشهابي-1901-1992/

[2] Najjar: 200-210, 320-332

[3] id=992

[4] Najjar: 279-283,


[6] Najjar, 242-246

[7] Najjar, 322-327

[8] Najjar 322-327, 149-183

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