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Women's Rights

Politics in the Yishuv and Israel

Women’s status in Israeli political arena has been shaped by two major contradictory forces that operate simultaneously. On the one hand, women are defined as part of the collective and are recognized, treated, and organized as a social category, mainly on the basis of traditional roles as wives and mothers. On the other hand, the politics of identity has been restricted by marginalizing and denouncing social identity as a basis for political action, and thus excludes women.

Political Parties in the Yishuv and Israel

Women’s parties have played a major, though so far unacknowledged, role in the social and political history of Israel: they had a significant impact on women’s participation in power centers, political and others; they played a major part in the struggle for women’s right to vote and to be elected; they brought into focus the economic discrimination against women, who constitute half of the population in the labor market; they made feminist discourse about gender equality widely known and discussed.

Anita Pollitzer

Anita Pollitzer devoted her public life to feminist politics and artistic patronage.

Anna Sophia Polak

When journalists interviewed her in 1926, Anna Polak said that her private life was not relevant, and that she would rather speak about the National Bureau for Women’s Labor. The reply characterizes Polak, who completely devoted herself to her task as director of the National Bureau.

Harriet Fleischl Pilpel

Harriet Fleischl Pilpel was a prominent participant and strategist in women’s rights, birth control, and reproductive freedom litigation for over half a century.

Alice S. Petluck

Alice S. Petluck was one of the earliest women legal pioneers. An immigrant from Russia, she became one of the first women in the United States to attend law school and to practice in New York. She was a prominent New York social reformer, who, through her example, was able to open the door for generations of future female lawyers.

Israela Oron

Israela Oron was active in effecting women’s integration into the military and in ensuring the recognition of their enormous potential in contributing to the Israel Defense Forces.

Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Israel, 1948-2000

Women’s organizations have been at the forefront of the struggle for women’s equality in Israel. In the early years of Israel’s statehood, they played an active role in providing women with essential services such as child-care and vocational training. In later years they concentrated on the struggle for gender equality, employing educational and political strategies.

Ora Namir

One of Israel’s outstanding advocates and legislators in the field of social justice in general and women’s rights in particular, Ora Namir was the only child of pioneering agricultural laborers in the moshav of Hoglah in the central Sharon region of Israel (founded in 1933).

Ruth Muskal

Born in Israel, Ruth Muskal studied education at both the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:342]Kibbutz[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] Seminar and in university. She joined the IDF in 1955 and filled various positions until her promotion to OC Women’s Corps (See “CHEN”: Women’s Corps in the Israel Defense Forces).

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women's Rights." (Viewed on December 21, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/womens-rights>.

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