Legal Work

The legal program was established at Kayan in 2006, with the goal of increasing Palestinian women’s access to justice, advancing their legal status, and ending rights violations against them within legal and judiciary institutions.

Our legal work is primarily related to the domains of:

Women’s rights as related to personal status
Sexual harassment in the workplace prevention
Women’s Rights in the Workplace

Our staff works to dismantle the legal barriers, challenges, and obstacles that prevent women from obtaining the full spectrum of their rights. We achieve this through the strategies of:

Free Legal Aid: Each year Kayan’s staff provides approximately 100 Palestinian women in Israel with free feminist legal consultations and representation for cases related to our three working domains. Palestinian women in Israel currently face major obstacles in claiming their rights. These obstacles stem from social norms, Palestinian women’s marginalized economic status, a lack of access to knowledge and resources in Arabic, and a lack of independence and self-determination. In particular, Palestinian women who face violations that may be considered socially taboo or which challenge gender-norms (such as sexual harassment violations, domestic abuse cases, and more), require a gender-sensitive approach, and lawyers who maintain the best interest of the client and who fully understand the real threats that she may face. Kayan’s lawyers work for their clients in religious court rooms, civil courts, in front of employers, and in front of State institutions.

Raising-Awareness: The targets of Kayan’s awareness-raising activities include Palestinian women in Israel, the Palestinian society in Israel, employers, and the public at large. The goal of all of our awareness-raising efforts is to disseminate knowledge on Palestinian women’s rights, and to break down social norms that serve as barriers to the attainment of Palestinian women’s rights. Each year Kayan’s staff gives legal rights lectures and workshops to over 1,000 Palestinian women in Israel. After each of these activities, attendees approach our staff for free legal aid. This shows the prevalence of violations against Palestinian women’s rights and the importance of combining awareness-raising with legal aid, as we not only inform women of their rights, but provide them with a direct service through which they can be claimed.

Advocacy: Kayan’s advocacy work is centered on both advocating duty-bearers to uphold and enforce Palestinian women’s rights, and advocating decision-makers to make legal changes that better serve the needs of Palestinian women in Israel. Key targets of our advocacy work have included religious court officials, employers, State institutions, such as the Bar Association and Ministry of Economy, the Israeli High Court, the Knesset, and local authorities. Our advocacy methods include petitioning, social campaigning, media work, and direct advocacy meetings.