This qualitative study examines how the agency of religious Druze women in Israel affects professional identity and religious affiliation and how these, in turn, shape the gender religious perception in their community, especially in the fields of education and employment. Through semi-structured interviews with twenty women, the study identifies the factors that promote or inhibit the increasing legitimacy in community religious discourse for the integration of religious women in higher education and quality employment. The main finding of the study is that religious, professionally educated Druze women in Israel direct their agency to a complex and challenging interaction with the modern world. By doing so, these women challenge the boundaries of their ultra-religious community, thereby expanding them. The findings show that educated religious Druze women in Israel reject the binary division between “conservative religious” and “modern” and replace it with different definitions of what is considered religious, conservative, and modern. One of the main insights that emerged from the study is that the women are able to act autonomously to make their choices, acquire education, integrate into the poor local labor market in professional positions, accumulate economic and social resources through their professional and religious status, and negotiate their status in the religious community.
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- personal choices
- religious women