Women’s Parliament (Israel)
Table of Contents
Women’s Parliament: Platform for politics from another perspective
Israel’s Women’s Parliament is a platform for critical and feminist debates on the prevailing policies and discourse in Israel. The Women’s Parliament was founded in 1999 by Shin – the Israeli Movement for Equal Representation of Women; The Friedrich Ebert Foundation; Beit Berl College; and Hen – Hertzelyia Women. The Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Beit Berl College and hosting local municipalities sponsor the activities of the Parliament.
The steering committee of the Women’s Parliament consists of the following members: Dr. Esther Hertzog (Women’s Parliament Coordinator), Yael German (mayor of Hertzelyia), Dr. Linda Efroni (economist and advocate), Dr. Varda Granot (school director), Iris Avraham (vice mayor in Giv’atayim), Ragda Masalha (director of the infancy educational center in ElKasami College); Oranit Levy-Spektor (regional instructor in JDC Israel); Yonna Markovitz (advocate), Nadin Holander (organizational consultant), Ruth Reznik (head of L.O – no to violence and director of women’s shelters), Ibtissam Mahamid (social activist), Dr. Zviya Walden (linguistic researcher), Barbara Swirski (head of Adva center for Social Justice), Yochi Yahel (head of the association for tenants’ protection), Goldy Koren (police officer and spokeswoman), Merav Michaeli (journalist),
The Women’s Parliament conducts 6 sessions a year, which are held in locations across Israel. They focus on feminist perspectives of diverse subjects, ranging from the state budget, educational, welfare and absorption policies, peace and national conflicts, terror and war issues, military service, elections and political representation, media coverage, crime and violence, political corruption, and the state abductions of children from disenfranchised mothers.
The impact of the Parliament
The debates in the Women’s Parliament sessions have promoted some significant feminist and social initiatives, such as the coalition against pornography, which succeeded in passing a law against pornography broadcasts on public television; a forum against sexual harassment; Jewish-Arab women’s leadership group (Anwar) that strives to advance gender equality and mutual activities for peace.
The Women’s Parliament has done well in terms of raising public awareness to various issues. The debates have had an impact on the public discourse concerning trafficking in women and on the understanding of the connection between prostitution, trafficking and pornography. The Women’s Parliament had put on the public agenda issues like the economic discrimination and exploitation of women in the labor market and their exclusion from the political power center and other spheres of public influence. Another significant achievement of the Women’s Parliament is the public exposure that it has offered women with accomplishments in professional and social activity spheres through their appearance on its panels.