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Institute of Women's Studies

Established in 1994, the Institute of Women`s Studies (IWS) at BZU is the first academic initiative in the gender studies in Palestine and one of only two programs in the Arab world.  Furthermore, the Institute's Master Program in Gender and Development Studies is the first graduate program of its kind in the region.

The launching of the IWS came at a critical time, when Palestinian higher education clearly needed to develop new academic and research programs that addressed the developmental needs of Palestinian society.  Palestinian women still face formidable challenges in adopting effective strategies to address basic social and development issues in order to build a society based on gender equality.

Vision and Mission

Since the establishment of the Women Studies Program in 1994 as an interdisciplinary program, it was committed to teaching, research, gender-based community intervention, and to influencing social policies.  Throughout the past decade, the Institute has sought to realize its goals which focused on: contributing to the development of the study of gender at both bachelor and master levels, using an interdisciplinary approach, increasing scientific knowledge using gender methods in addition to empowering researchers to use feminist analysis tools, and to contribute to the development of Palestinian research competencies.  The goals have also focused on supporting the civil society, especially the women movement, and social movements through providing consulting based on meticulous research.

To contribute to developing a qualified academic staff, the Institute has taught gender issues in the various academic fields, provided opportunities for graduate studies, introduced the students to the ongoing controversy around women issues at the global level, and encouraged the students to participate, and through that, the Institute would have influenced the official and non-official national policies.

Institute's Goals

Through its activities, the institution aims to:

  • Develop avenues to empower women
  • Expand a network of Palestinian women's institutions
  • Contribute towards developing equitable, gender-aware and effective public and institutional policies
  • Contribute towards policy formulation, development planning, social action and the development of the agenda of the women's movement as a whole.


Institute's Programs

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • A community intervention program for gender issues.


The library offers core services supporting the teaching, learning and research needs of the Institute.   It has become an essential source for undergraduates, postgraduates, researchers and professionals alike.  The library holds approximately 6861 books in total (in both Arabic and English) offering a specialist collection in the field of gender studies.

Hala Atalla Scholarship Fund

Hala Atalla Fund was set up in order to support female students coming from rural and underprivileged backgrounds.  The fund ensures that these students do not withdraw or drop out of the educational program as a result of the escalating social, economical and political crisis in Palestine.

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