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Strategies for Closing the Educational Gaps among Palestinian Couples in Israel

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This study deals with attitudes and mechanisms among Palestinian couples who have been married a long time and have educational gaps between husband and wife. Thirty-three couples—married for at least 20 years, and at the time of their marriage the difference in their educational levels was at least six years or two academic degrees—were chosen from the three religious groups (19 Muslim couples, 10 Christian couples and 4 Druze couples). The methodology was qualitative, and in-depth interview was conducted with each participant. The study’s findings indicate that educational compatibility between husband and wife was not a determining factor for men in choosing their future wives. Men who are more educated than their wives do not invest in women’s education, while women make the upgrading of their husbands’ education their major marital project. This study shows that patriarchal values in Arab families supersede other modernizing factors such as education or occupation of women.

Affiliations: 1: The Max Stern Academic College of Emek Yezreel P. O. Box 2320, Akko, 24316 Israel, Email:; 2: University of Haifa


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