The project, "Dorek" (your turn), supports and empowers Palestinian women in Israel to continue and expand their active role in politics. Kayan aims to build a national support network for women involved in their local councils by offering advice, tools, and meetings. This builds on our success in encouraging women's involvement in the 2018 local elections, which helped increase number of women on local councils. One woman grassroots leader said the campaign is making a "political renaissance."
Exclusion is pervasive for Palestinian women in politics and decision-making processes. Kayan was motivated to work on this when, in 2017, we realized that, of the hundreds of council members in Israel, there were only 9 Palestinian women. Women rarely discussed politics in the media or in their communities, because of patriarchal social norms. In many localities, no woman has ever held an official political position. To advance women's causes, women must hold political positions of power.
This project promotes women's participation in politics in three ways. First, we will create a national forum of Palestinian woman councilors and hold workshops to create a network of mutual support and to build their skills so they can be effective in local councils. Second, we will support women to participate in local committees and other non-elected political positions. Third, we will run media and social media campaigns, which will reach thousands of people, to promote women in politics.
By supporting women in politics, we can fundamentally change the power structures in Palestinian society. With women in elected positions, we can better tackle issues like gender-mainstreamed policy and violence against women. We will reach thousands of Palestinians through the media and, therefore, hope we can change the culture around women's political participation.