'Durek - Your Turn' Women's Participation in Local Politics 2018

The women in local politics campaign stems out of a major need, as currently within Israel out of 800 Arab local council members, only 10 are women. In the last local council elections, which were held in 2013, these 10 women were elected from a total of 156 Arab women candidates. No Arab woman has ever succeeded to be the head of any of the 85 current Arab local councils. It is important to note that Arab local councils in Israel are centers of power for the community as the Arab society is largely excluded and holds little decision-making power on the national level. Thus, in some localities more than 90% of the population votes in local council elections. Arab women’s widespread exclusion from Israeli local councils has led to the absence of Arab women’s needs on local political agendas, and is indicative of an ongoing status quo in which Arab women are relegated to the domestic sphere and are expected to fulfill social roles based on patriarchal traditions and religious norms. Thus, by empowering and supporting Arab women to partake in the political sphere we will create a socio-cultural change that will not only change the political sphere, but the very fabric of gender-relations so that women become active, and take on leadership roles in the society.The purpose of this project is to:1. Empower Arab women to be leaders in the local political sphere by training and supporting local women to participate in local council elections via women-led party lists or on party lists that give women real decision-making power and high positions on the list themselves2. Gender-mainstream local councils and local political parties so that they both include women in their decision-making processes and integrate women’s needs onto their agendas3. Change stereotypes and patriarchal discourse related to women’s political participation via awareness-raising, education, and media work. Overall, we aim to see an increase in women’s participation in local councils within the 2018 local council elections which will be held October 30th. Our target groups include women in the field, local councils and local politicians, youth, and the society at large. Activities implemented thus far have included Women In Politics empowerment trainings in 2017, gender-mainstreaming workshops for local councils and political parties, work with the Jusur Forum to raise national awareness, an informative brochure on local councils and women's status, youth workshops, a detailed research report featuring an in-depth analysis of barriers, challenges, experiences, and obstacles related to Arab women entering politics, and many more. We plan to continue to implement awareness raising and empowering activities and workshops to support these women.
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