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.

Women’s Rights in the Workplace


Kayan works to promote Palestinian women’s rights and status in the workplace and to end sexual harassment in the work place.

Palestinian women are amongst the most economically disenfranchised communities in Israel, with 79% of Palestinian women in Israel currently unemployed (as compared to 39% of Jewish women). Within the workplace, Palestinian women face consistent labor rights violations, especially in the private employment sector. A 2014 survey conducted by Kayan, which aimed to identify the prevalence of labor rights violations against Palestinian women in Israel revealed a disturbing reality. Findings included: 88% of the women reported a salary lower than the minimum wage defined by law, and 60% reported earning 15 NIS per hour (less than 65% of the minimum wage). The lowest salary documented by the research was 5 NIS per hour and the highest was minimum wage. 80% of surveyed women did not receive a salary slip or reported receiving a fictive salary slip, 85% of the women did not receive convalescence pay, 92% reported that their employer did not provide them with any pension fund plan, and 92% reported that they did not receive the paid leave nor sick leave they are entitled to by law. 81% of women reported working overtime, while 68% did not receive any compensation for these extra hours.

It is important to note that Kayan’s approach to women’s rights in the workplace addresses the layered discriminations that Arab women face. These include ethnic discrimination as a national minority in Israel, and gender-based discrimination. As part of the Palestinian minority in Israel, Palestinian women face ongoing barriers to fair employment that are a direct result of State discrimination. For example, poor infrastructure in Palestinian society, a lack of public transportation to and from Palestinian areas, a lack of State subsidized day cares in Palestinian areas, and a lack of industrial zones in Palestinian areas have all contributed to the marginalization of Palestinian women in the workforce. In order to change this reality and promote Palestinian women’s employment status, Kayan works on institutional levels to remove these barriers, and within the society in order to change gender-based norms that inhibit Arab women from receiving fair employment and the full spectrum of their labor rights.