Promoting the Status of Women - New Israel Fund Australia

Promoting the Status of Women

Projects we support:

Mavoi Satum

In Israel, one-in-five Jewish women are unable to freely exit their marriage.

Because Israeli law passes on responsibility for personal status issues – like marriage, divorce and burial – to the Orthodox-controlled Rabbinate, thousands of women are currently trapped for long periods of time, even decades, in a state of limbo as they try to divorce their husbands.

While the broader fight for freedom of – and from – religion persists, Mavoi Satum works with the women who suffer most in their everyday lives, mesoravot get, women who are seeking a divorce, and agunot, women who are denied a divorce.

Mavoi Satum’s lawyers represent these women in the rabbinic courts and exert pressure on the dayanim (rabbinic judges) to issue a divorce. So far this year, they have represented 134 women, of which 38 were successful in attaining the freedom they’ve been fighting for, often for decades.

Mavoi Satum also provides individual and group psychological services to help these women re-build their lives separate from their husbands, as well as ‘independence workshops’ so they’re better equipped to deal with other challenges in their lives.

Grants:

  • 2018 – $10,000

Israel Women's Network

The Israel Women’s Network (IWN) was founded in 1984 to promote a better society in Israel by focusing on women’s equality and creating the social, physical, economic and judicial conditions for their prosperity.

During the past three decades, the IWN has acted to promote equality in different fields and has made landmark achievements in promoting female representation on the boards of directors of public companies, opening new positions for women in the IDF, promoting anti sexual-harassment legislation, furthering the legal acceptance of a broader and more effective interpretation of the equal pay law and advancing protective labor legislation.

We fund an IWN hotline where women across the country can call, report discrimination, and receive crucial legal assistance to correct it.

Grants:

  • 2019 – $2,265

Women Against Violence (Nazareth)

Systemic reductions in social welfare budgets in the Arab-Israeli sector, which has reduced funds for social workers and women's crisis programs, has left the problem of addressing violence against women in the Palestinian society squarely in the hands of civil society.

Today, Women Against Violence is at the forefront of the campaign to end violence experienced by women in Palestinian society on a national level.

Each year, there are as many as ten cases each year of women being killed by domestic violence among Arab citizens of Israel alone. Working against such violence within the Palestinian community in Israel means tackling a social problem with cultural roots in a multicultural context, and within the day-to-day reality of these women living in a complicated political and social situation.

WAV provides direct services to survivors of domestic violence, including providing shelters, economic and psychological aid, training and employment opportunities. This year, it's predicted that more than 700 women will come through their crisis centre hotline or their shelter for survivors of domestic violence. 

Grants:

  • 2019 – $10,000

Israel Religious Action Centre (IRAC)

IRAC is the leading organisation addressing religion and state issues in Israel. Its impact has been felt across a wide range of issues: ending the segregation of women on flights, buses and at funerals; the status of non-Orthodox streams of Judaism; and the right of the LGBT community to adopt.

IRAC’s commitment to advancing religious diversity and defending freedom of religion in Israel is all the more important because of the dominant role the Orthodox-controlled Rabbinate has across society.

We fund projects which assist olim who face questions over their status as Jews, take action to advance gender equality, including airlines which discriminate against women on flights, and fight for public transportation on Shabbat.

Grants:

  • 2019 – $500
  • 2018 – $30,000

Lakia - The Association For The Improvement Of Women's Status

While the socio-economic situation of the Arab population is low compared to the Jewish population, the situation of the Bedouin population of the Negev even worse. This community is characterised by high rate of unemployment and poverty, and wide gender gaps in employment and wages.

Although the fact that Arab-Bedouin women do not go out to work is usually being attributed to cultural barriers of their society, many studies show that practical limitations such as poor public transportation system, lack of day-care services, poor education system, overt and covert discrimination by employers, language difficulties and more are actually the main reasons for exclusion of Arab-Bedouin women from the labour market.

Lakia addresses two of the greatest obstacles towards breaking the cycle of poverty: poor educational system available to the Bedouin population, and a lack of employment opportunities.

Improved education leads to more desirable employees, who can work in more varied fields of employment. Given the historical, rural backgrounds of these communities, the organisation also believes that by providing the type of employment these communities view as traditionally acceptable and suitable for women, is already beginning to break down the cultural barriers these women faced when they express their desires to work outside the home and become more financially independent.

Lakia's projects include a desert embroidery centre which employs fifty women who sell their products and use the funds to support their families; a tourist centre to sell their embroidery products; a mobile library which provides reading enrichment programs in the southern Negev and serves more than 1,500 children; and English and mathematics courses for teenagers preparing for their matriculation exams.

Grants:

  • 2019 – $10,000