This study analyses the Palestinian Authority's (PA) policy on women's rights by tracing their historical development under both the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and the PA. It argues that the PLO and the PA have dealt with women's rights as a matter of means, not ends. The limited rights gained by women under the PLO were a result of the latter's attempt to win popular support for the national struggle. The PA inherited this habit of using women's rights to secure political gains, but its main priority has been to use the international diplomatic process to convince the world of the need to recognize a Palestinian state. Instead of popular support, it is now focused on winning international support for the state-building process. This has led to the marginalization of women's rights gained during the period of national struggle. This study argues that this move away from securing popular support has been fuelled by a national approach to rights similar to that of many postcolonial third world countries, exacerbating the marginalization of women's rights.