|SHATIL Spearheads Efforts toward Gender Equality in the Workforce|
"The contribution of SHATIL to combating sexual harassment in the workplace and to gender equality in the workforce is truly remarkable,” said Michal Rosin, executive director of the Association of Rape Crisis Centers, following a sexual harassment workshop in the Knesset. “SHATIL's work will have a dramatic affect on victims of sexual harassment." The workshop was held in conjunction with the first national day to raise awareness about sexual harassment.
This workshop is one of hundreds implemented thanks to the collaborative efforts of SHATIL, Kayan-Feminist Organization, The Association of Rape Crisis Centers, Tmura: The Israeli Anti-discrimination Legal Center and the Mahut Center: Information, Guidance and Employment for Women in the Equality and Dignity for Women in Israel initiative. The workshop series will reach thousands of Israeli men and women including government employees, the Israel Bar Association and Magen David Adom. The purpose is to make employees aware of their rights and to ensure that supervisors understand their responsibilities, including a designated point person to receive complaints and take official action. Further to this, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor has recently completed a much-anticipated survey of sexual harassment in the workforce, which assesses the economic costs on the victims, the employers and to the Israeli economy.
This week we bid farewell to Yosepha Tabib-Calif, out-going director of the Equality and Dignity for Women in Israel initiative. Tabib-Calif’s expertise in the field along with her dogged determination has brought her recognition as one of Israel's prime movers in the field of women's empowerment. Yosepha, who is the daughter of an immigrant farmer and one of six children, first came to SHATIL after a stint at the feminist organization and NIF grantee Achoti, where she initiated a project which trains unemployed women to use their own culinary skills to open small businesses. The project, Women Cook up a Business, won Yosepha the Yaffa London Yaari award, which has since given way to a number of prizes and accolades including the esteemed Presidential Scholarship.
Yosepha leaves SHATIL to accept the Hoffman Scholarship for Leadership and Social Responsibility, which will enable her to pursue her studies toward a PhD at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She joins two additional SHATIL employees, Tammy Rubel of the Conflict Transformation and Management Center and Ilana Shpaizman of the Immigrants from the Former Soviet Union Initiative, who also received the prestigious Hoffman Scholarship.
During her tenure at SHATIL, Yosepha has helped carve out a new field of work focused on women. "I am very concerned with the status of women in Israel,” she explains. “Women make up the majority of the workforce and still take on the majority of the domestic duties. Some 90% of micro-business owners are women and women are still disproportionately vulnerable to poverty. On top of all this, women face discrimination in the workplace, lower wages, an inability to advance and sexual harassment."
Yosepha, who began at SHATIL advocating for women in micro-business, was integral in advocating for the survey assessing the scope of microfinance initiatives in Israel. The survey will be also be useful in future advocacy efforts aimed at shaping policies more conducive to the needs of women, particularly in Israel's poorer regions, who seek to gain economic independence through micro-enterprise.
Currently, joint efforts of SHATIL and its partner women's organizations – Women Against Violence, Itach-Maaki: Women Lawyers for Social Justice, the Israel Women's Network and the Mahut Center – are underway to equalize wages in the public sector, responding to overwhelming evidence of discrimination in wages and promotion opportunities. SHATIL is also in the process of convening a major conference for the end of the year that will enable activists and public officials to come together under the theme of women and the working poor.
Yosepha is replaced by Tamar Adelstein-Zekbach, an attorney returning to SHATIL after stints at the Israel Religious Action Center and the Rackman Center for The Advancement of The Status of Women at Bar Ilan University.