Report on presentation of "mirror" MA-theses of Austrian and Palestinian students

24. March 2021
Project team in Austria in front of big screens in a room, connected to Palestinian team virtually
Eight Master’s level students, four students from Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) and four students from University of Graz (Uni Graz), have been selected to conduct their Master theses in the field of gender and women studies. Such that, the topics of the Master theses of the students from IUG and Uni Graz were the same, and the point was to study the topics in the Austrian context and the Palestinian one.

The Women’s Studies Center (WSC) organized a scientific meeting using the online meeting application “Big Blue Bottom” to conclude the mirror MA thesis activity that was funded by the APPEAR programme as part of the project Strengthening Higher Education Capacities in Palestine for Gender Equality | SHE-GE project that was running since 2017 in partnership between the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) and University of Graz (Uni Graz) in Austria.

First session "Young People in the community"

This session was moderated by Prof. Sanaa Abu Dagga from IUG. During the session, the results of two studies were presented, one from IUG and the other from UniGraz. The student Hannah Schunko from Austria delivered a presentation on the results of her study, which is titled " Young people and the community – Adolescents and their experiences with the Points4action programme " and then IUG student, Fedaa Abu Shamala, presented her study which is titled “Prosocial behavior and its relation with self-assertion and meaning of life for secondary school students in Gaza Strip”.

Second session  "Women in Men's Jobs"

The session which has the title "Women in Men's Jobs" was moderated by Prof. Libora Oates-Indruchova from Uni Graz. The session included also the discussion of results of two scientific studies. Rukiye Salhiya from Palestine started the session with a presentation of her study results, which is titled " Self-perception and coping strategies for women in man-dominated professions in Gaza”. It was followed by Hannah Rose Bayer from Austria who talked about the results of her study of the same topic with the title "Women auf der Walz” - Travelling craftswomen in a male-dominated crafts tradition".

Third session "Women, Work and Family"

This session was moderated by Prof. Sanaa Abu Dagga from IUG. The session included discussion of the results and recommendations of the two Master's theses, which were implemented by both students Natalie Horn from Austria and Arwa Al-Skafi from Palestine, with the titles "Gender, family, work: Motives of dual-earner and dual-career couples for sharing parental leave" and " Cognitive orientation, social harmony and their relation to work-family balance among female doctors in Gaza Strip" respectively.

Fourth session "Green Home”

Was moderated by Prof. Libora Oates-Indruchova from Uni Graz. This session included the discussion of the thesis entitled " The feasibility of using solar energy in cooking applications: Questionnaire-based study " presented by the student Besan Attaee from IUG, and the second thesis with the title “Green, Healthy, Accessible – Effects of urban green spaces on life quality and health of urban dwellers at the example of the green.LAB in the Smart City Graz” by student Cornelia Draxler.

All sessions concluded with a number of questions, as they were answered by all participaing students in this mirror-MA-thesis project. At the end of the day, the participants praised the scientific meeting, the research presented by both universities’ students, and the discussions that took place. The participants indicated that this activity contributed to identifying potential research problems in the field of gender and women issues at both countries and that it deepened the understanding about women's issues in the Palestinian society and on a larger international level.