Gaza Sex Segregation
Critics here view the law, which mandates separate classes for boys and girls from the age of 9 and bars men from working at girls’ schools, as the latest move by Hamas to impose a more Islamic lifestyle on the people of Gaza. Hamas has already made efforts to impose Islamic dress on schoolgirls, among other things...
According to a copy of the 18-page law, it is intended to build the nationalist character of the students and prepare them to be “committed to the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic culture.” It says the law is meant to encourage pupils “to get to know Palestine with its historic borders, its history and its connection with its milieus.” It is set to go into effect at the start of the new school year in September.
In reality, given the conservative nature of Gaza society, boys and girls over the age of 9 are already separated in most government schools and schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which assists Palestinian refugees and their descendants. The new separation rules are mostly expected to affect about a dozen private and Christian schools.
The law maintains the freedom of Christian schools to teach non-Muslim students subjects related to their religion.Early in its rule in Gaza, Hamas avoided pushing its social agenda to try and unite people behind itself as a resistance force. However, in ensuing years it has tried to impose more of its vision of Islamic law, partly to ward off criticisms from salafi forces to its right and partly because it does not consistently do much to improve conditions in Gaza.