Changing Perspectives: A Strategy for Gender Mainstreaming in Legislation

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Legal Consultant: Adv. Elia Asayag. Written with the assistance of the Clinic for Law, Gender, and Social Change headed by Adv. Miriam Zalkind at the College of Management-Academic Studies

Israeli society has been experiencing a dramatic and difficult crisis since the heinous Hamas attack of 7 October 2023. For over five months now, the shock of the massacre, kidnappings, and unprecedented assault on civilians and the ensuing war has been exacting a heavy toll. The families of victims and hostages have been going through unbearable suffering, as the noxious impact of the attack on all Israeli women and on society at large remains evident. New disclosures about the terror keep emerging, such as the report of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, which concluded that severe sexual violence, torture, and brutality had occurred during the Hamas attack. The task force that collected the data said there were reasons to believe that such violence was ongoing toward the hostages still in captivity.

If in normal times in Israel women’s representation at crucial decision-making junctions is forever deficient and hinders the advancement of an egalitarian policy based on a broad and inclusive worldview, this is even more so in times of crisis. Given this state of affairs, even decisions crucial to the safety and resilience of society in general and of women in particular are made without any gender considerations. This might have unprecedentedly severe consequences for the lives of women, who make up 50.4% of Israel’s population, and might affect their situation for many years to come. An obvious example is the National Security Minister’s nonchalant policy about handing out firearms, which ignores the expected consequences for women and makes light of the dangers to their safety.

This document presents Zulat’s recommendations for the promotion of gender equality and social resilience in Israel through gender mainstreaming in legislation and policy planning. We propose to amend the article in the Women’s Equal Rights Law requiring the legislator to look into expected implications for gender equality so that it should apply to any piece of legislation promoted in Knesset committees; to reestablish the Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women (AASW) and give it powers, a budget, job slots, and tools to implement the aforementioned amendment in its gender impact assessments; to require a gender impact assessment of the state budget and of each government ministry‘s allocations; and to develop dedicated training programs on gender equality for legislators, decisionmakers, and public officials.

It is imperative to promote these amendments in order to encourage an equality-driven discourse among decisionmakers, given that legislative processes generate a high commitment to the protection of human rights that can lead to wider social change.


Dr. Maha Sabbah Karkabi


Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Tel Aviv University (2015), a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London (2015-2016), a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Sociology at Tel Aviv University (2016-2017), and a postdoctoral fellowship Ph.D. at the Humphrey Institute for Social Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2018-2020).
Dr. Maha Karbahi’s areas of interest focus on the connection between social change, family behavior, and gender inequality in societies in the process of change and specifically in Palestinian Arab society in Israel. Her research draws attention to the study of family life and employment, using a combined “ethnic lens” and “gender lens” and paying attention to the perspective of Palestinian Arab women, a group characterized by intersections between multiple marginal locations, which over the years has remained hidden from the research eye. Dr. Karkabi-Sabah’s research is published in professional journals and chapters in scientific books that are considered pioneers in family research, work, and gender equality.


Prof. Frances Raday

Professor Emeritus in the Lieberman Chair in Labor Law, in the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University and serves as a full professor in the College of Management’s academic track, where she also serves as chair of the graduate program and as honorary president of the Concord Center for International Law Absorption. Radai was a member of a working group of the UN Human Rights Council on discrimination against women. In addition, she is a prominent and feminist human rights activist.


Dr. Rawia Aburabia 

Faculty member of Sapir Academic College’s School of Law, received her PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research deals with the interface between law, gender, minorities, and human rights. Has published in leading journals on the subject of the matrimonial laws pertaining to Muslim women in Israel. Her book Under the Law, Outside Justice: Polygamy, Gendered Citizenship, and Colonialism in Israeli Law is expected to be published as part of the Gender Series of Kibbutz Meuhad Publishing House.

Dr. Aburabia has extensive experience in international human rights and public law. She has worked as a jurist for the Association for Civil Right and has been invited as a specialist to address such international forums as the United Nations and the European Parliament on the subject of indigenous communities and minority rights. She has interned with Human Rights Watch in Washington DC, and has been a member of the executive board of Amnesty International. In 2018, she was selected by the magazine Globes as one of the 40 most promising young persons in Israel under the age of 40.



Ron Kessler

With over two decades of experience in the field of digital content, Ron has participated in numerous political and social campaigns. He helped run the digital activity of senior public officials, and worked in various NGOs. Ron is a fundamentally optimistic man, who believes that Israel can be changed and so can people. Lives in Tel Aviv.