Apply to Join

"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance

by Kayan - Feminist Organization
Play Video
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
"Dorek": Palestinian women's political renaissance
Swiss ambassador moderates panel with Samira Azzam
Swiss ambassador moderates panel with Samira Azzam

Kayan is continuing to support grassroots women who have gotten involved and are trying to get involved in politics and decision-making processes. We are in the process of starting the documentation of the experiences of women councilors. We have begun laying out the methodology and are holding meetings to start the full process. Look out for more emails from us to learn more about this project.

We have also started bringing ideas about women’s political participation to schools. During the campaign we held workshops at 8 different schools and institutions in multiple Arab localities. The students were excited and engaged in the discussions, giving us hope for that the next generation will choose to put women who care about their communities in leadership positions.

Also, the past few months at Kayan have been very eventful! We recently wrapped up an extremely intensive 16 Day Campaign of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. During the campaign we held over two dozen events and led a coalition of 15 Palestinian human rights and feminist NGOs. All of the events gave grassroots women a chance to lead. Several events held during the campaign gave us a chance to highlight women’s participation in politics.

During one particular event, Samira Azzam, Kayan activist and the first woman ever elected as a member of the Ossifiya local council, shared her story to a room packed with feminist activists and diplomats at the Swiss Ambassador’s residence. She shared her story of starting with her first engagement in a local Kayan group to her leading the first Palestinian women’s political list in Israel to victory in Ossifiya council elections. Samira emphasized that she couldn’t do it without Kayan and that “Supporting women means supporting women’s groups.” Her testimony to women’s leadership was extremely powerful.

The event at the Swiss Embassy also provided Palestinian women leaders the opportunity to engage with diplomatic leaders and share their communities’ concerns with them.

Thank you for being a friend and supporter of Kayan Feminist Organization. Please consider supporting Kayan today. Your support is especially appreciated as we work towards our end of year targets. Your donations help build a stronger, more feminist, more egalitarian, and more community-focused Palestinian leadership.

Grassroots leaders, Swiss Ambassador's residence
Grassroots leaders, Swiss Ambassador's residence
Kayan staff give youth workshops
Kayan staff give youth workshops
Grassroots leader leads youth workshop
Grassroots leader leads youth workshop
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Kayan staff member facilitates workshop with youth
Kayan staff member facilitates workshop with youth

Kayan staff has been reviewing and reflecting on our past experience of promoting women in politics and are getting ready to launch our next phase. We completed an external evaluation of the first phase of the project. The evaluation found that the project had a “very good” impact. It found that the project succeeded in, “changing the discourse regarding women participation in politics, challenging men political hegemony, and allowing a new discourse to flourish,” and also stated that, “The project had changed the attitudes and beliefs of women involved towards the way they perceive themselves in politics and their role within the council.” The evaluation confirms, from an outside perspective, that this project was successful in creating real change.

The evaluation and the reflection on the project also helped us to identify the next steps for the project. The next stage has two major components: supporting women to be effective leaders in the council and training youth to challenge social norms about women’s leadership.

We believe that it is important to work with youth because they are the next voters and are the most likely to be able to change their perspectives by challenging social norms. The evaluator also pointed out that youth are also harmed by the local councils’ incompetence and suggested that we pursue working with youth as a next step. Kayan staff is currently working to develop a curriculum to bring to schools in order to change student perspectives.

We continue to provide support to women who are serving on councils and those around them. We noticed in the first part of our project, however, that we did not always have all the right information in order to support the women. We found ourselves asking questions like, “what makes a successful woman candidate?” and “How can we support women through the unique challenges they face on local council?” We are starting to learn how to answer these questions by studying and documenting the experiences of current women councilors. We are starting a process of research planning, interviews, and writing. This project will be focused forward towards supporting women to be in the strongest possible position as local councilors and to advise women who are interested in becoming candidates.

We are also starting to partner with other Arab organizations that are working on women’s involvement in politics. We are sharing our experiences and resources so that we can all work together to support these women and build strong, independent leadership for a healthier Palestinian society.

If you share our excitement about these next steps, consider increasing your support for Kayan. Together, we can build a stronger Palestinian society based on a vibrant and diverse grassroots advocacy. Stand with us to realize this future.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

We are building on our success leading up to the 2018 local elections of providing Arab women with the tools to run for office in many ways: supporting women to use their leadership positions successfully, inspiring other women to take public roles, and using past experiences to prepare for the future of the project.

At the end of 2018, when two women’s groups used tools from Kayan to mobilize and win elections in their localities, we knew that this project would require a long-term commitment to the local women’s groups would last far beyond the elections. We continue to be in regular contact with the local groups in order to help the women continue to work together so that grassroots voices will continue to inform the new woman councilors and so that the councilwomen will continue to have support to implement a feminist agenda. We work with the groups to strategize so that they can be effective in the actions they aim to take. We have seen significant success in building the strength of these groups. In Ossifiya, new councilwoman Samira has secured spots on many of the local council committees for other grassroots women and the grassroots women are actively working to raise the profile of Samira’s work. This collaborative work is raising the voices of grassroots women and ensuring the strength of the only independent and anti-patriarchal voice on that council.

We are also building on the success by inspiring other women to be leaders in the public sphere. After hearing about the stories of the victorious women’s groups in the media, through presentations, or through word of mouth, many women have reached out to us with requests to be a part of our advocacy and our work. These requests have come from Palestinian women from all over Israel and even from the West Bank. We cannot meet the full demand but we have formed a new women’s group already this year to bring a new set of women’s voices proudly and loudly into the public sphere. We continue to train women with the skills they need to be active in public and political discussions, including training on how to engage the media on topic in which women have previously been excluded.

Finally, we are using our experiences to prepare for the future. In order to best learn from our past work, we commissioned an external evaluation. The external evaluation found the project to have been effective in empowering the participants. It also clearly showed us that supporting women in politics requires long-term investment and work that trains women with the skills to run for office years before the election. We are already working to start planning for the next election, which will be in just over four years. Empowering women cannot happen overnight but when we are able to lift up grassroots women’s voices to the halls of power and to the decision-making tables, we know that we can create fundamental change.

We thank you for sharing a commitment to women’s empowerment and hope that you will continue to support us in this important work.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Samira, new local council member in Ossifiya
Samira, new local council member in Ossifiya

Women’s public and prominent role in the political and publics spheres have been central to our work since our founding in 1998. Leading up to the 2018 local elections, we decided to take our groundbreaking approach into the field of local politics. For the first time in Arab society, many women have access to the training and tools necessary to be active in campaigns and councils.

This project is critical because women only hold 0.12% of council seats in Palestinian municipalities. Women must hold positions of power in local government in order to increase women’s status and society’s overall wellbeing by influencing education budgets, healthcare policies, transportation plans, and many other decisions. Current office holders are often men beholden to family and religious interests. We are building a groundbreaking base of women leaders who are independent and ready to bring Arab society in Israel into a vibrant and egalitarian political future.

We decided to address problem on multiple levels: both nationally and locally, both preparing women to run and preparing society to accept their candidacy. On the local level, Kayan worked with four women’s groups to provide them with the skills to campaign. In three of these towns, women from the groups started their own political lists or, in one case, joined another political party. In the town of Ossifiya, this was the first successful all-women political party list in Palestinian society in Israel. Kayan also supported these women to change the culture around women’s participation in politics by planning and implementing public information campaigns, including videos.

On the national level, grassroots women’s assembly, the Jusur Forum, supported the effort with a campaign called, “Dorek,” the Arabic term meaning “your turn.” This campaign showed the faces of women political leaders, which changed the discourse around women’s role in elections by showing them as visible parts of the political world. It encouraged other grassroots women to step up and take “their turn” in the political sphere. A Jusur Forum leader, reflecting on their success, called it, a women’s "political renaissance.”

Two women were elected to local council from groups to whom Kayan offered support: Ayesha in Arabeh and Samira in Ossifiyeh. In both cases, women from their groups mobilized behind them. Samira is already looking at how to use her position to increase the participation of women on local committees.

With the momentum that we built, it is essential that we continue to work towards changing culture. We are going to hold workshops to continue building women’s political skills. We are supporting the women in local councils and are intending to build a national forum of women councilors to offer mutual support, as many women councilors feel isolated and unsupported. We will continue media and social media campaigns that raise women’s voices in politics. We thank you for joining us as we enter this exciting phase of our work on supporting women in politics.

Campaign poster
Campaign poster

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
16 Days of Activism Schedule
16 Days of Activism Schedule

Since August 2018, Kayan has continued our project and efforts to end violence against women. This gender-based violence manifests in many forms for Palestinian women living in Israel. Most recently, the issue of femicide and the killing of women throughout Israel has come to the forefront of discussion. The perpetrators are rarely brought to justice by the State and women who seek aid from the police are routinely turned away. In general, State violence against Palestinian women can be defined by "neglect," which spawns a culture of impunity in which rights violations against Palestinian women are commonplace in all spheres of life. 

For Palestinian women in Israel, violence takes many forms that include physical, sexual, legal, economic, social, and political. In recent years, the media has emerged as a new space in which violence occurs in the form of threats, sexual harassment, shaming, and slander, and is actually one of the most common forums for violence against women. 

This project includes changing the norms in the media and practices related to violence against women through many strategies, one of which includes targeting men and youth in workshops and activities related to this phenomenon, and enlisting their support in the movement to end gender-based violence. Much of our work has entailed direct partnerships between women and youth activists as well as women-led youth activities. By working with and targeting youth, we are preparing the next generation of youth activists, and laying the foundation for a just and secure future for Arab women.

Accomplishments in the past months include a widely publicised Jusur Forum-led annual 16 Days of Activism to End Gender Based Violence Campaign which included media, meetings, and more than 20 workshops and activities in the field that reached thousands of students and women in the communities. This year, we have focused on sexual harrassment prevention.

In addition, Kayan staff participated in and supported the December 4th strike to promote awareness of the increasing violence against women in Israel, and the refusal of the State to intervene. Kayan has also been campaigning consistently on social media, because as previously mentioned, media is emerging as one of the most common spaces for violence against women to occur. We have also created and disemminated automobile air fresheners that include Kayan's logo and the 16 Days of Activism slogan. In the coming year we are beginning a new project which will feature a traveling art gallery with installations on the subject of gender-based violence. 

By working on these levels of awareness, advocacy, and education, Kayan and grassroots women leaders are making progressive changes toward women's security in the Arab society in Israel.

Workshop on Harassment and Violence
Workshop on Harassment and Violence
Workshop on Violence Against Women in School
Workshop on Violence Against Women in School
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Kayan - Feminist Organization

Location: Haifa - Israel
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @KayanFeminist
Project Leader:
Shayna Solomon
Haifa, Israel
$4,929 raised of $8,000 goal
 
115 donations
$3,071 to go
Donate Now Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.