Monday, February 29, 2016

Microfy Supports Budding Female Entrepreneurs in S. Tel Aviv

Microfy, a grassroots, volunteer-driven organization, works with women who are often overlooked: the residents of Tel Aviv's southern neighborhoods, who live a world away from the city's lucrative hi-tech scene. In addition to providing training to entrepreneurs, the women are enrolled in a business forum, which gives them on-going support as well as critical business contacts. Program participant Sigalit (above, next to a website advertising her childcare business) not only found support in the business forum-- she also found tax specialist (who was also a program alum), who helped her get substantial business-tax refund!

Getting More Women in Israeli Board Rooms

Jasmine, a Foundation grantee, will be working with a cohort of accomplished Jewish and Arab women to put them in their rightful place: in the board room of Israeli companies.  More women in such leadership positions increases the likelihood that companies will adopt female-friendly policies.  Staff from Jasmine, pictured above, will provide training to these women via the Open University in Israel, and then offer them high-level mentors, who will grant them access to positions of power.

Job Readiness Program Helps Women in the Triangle Region

Foundation grantee Tishreen, working with Na'amat, the Israeli women's group, is providing intensive job-readiness training and support to Arab Israeli women in the Triangle region.  The area faces an extraordinarily high unemployment rate. Staff from the two nonprofits, pictured above, are improving the Hebrew language skills of these women, are teaching them how to apply for work, and are bolstering their self-worth.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fast Start for New Anti-Sexual Harassment Code in Israel

The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel formally debuted its new national anti-sexual harassment code for Israeli employers last week at a conference attended by many of the country's leading businesses and government agencies. Staff, pictured above with a new publication that explains the code and which was supported by the Hadassah Foundation, said that a dozen employers approached them after the briefing, seeking ARCCI's help to implement the voluntary code. There is great interest in the code, in response to a number of recent well-publicized sexual harassment cases in Israel.
Watch a short video about the code here.

Aiding Haredi Social Entrepreneurs

One of the Foundation's newest grantees is Presentense in Jerusalem, which is helping ultra-Orthodox women create or expand their own businesses.  Presentense is working with another nonprofit, Temech (staff from both groups are pictured above), to adapt its successful business incubator program to the needs of this population.  In some cases, the women develop programs and services specifically targeted to their own community, e.g. a toy rental program for early-childhood programs.

Hadassah Foundation Project Wins Israeli Government Award

Staffers from Shatil, pictured center and right, told the Hadassah Foundation that a key element of a program it supported is about to receive a prize from Israel's Public Administration Commissioner.  Shatil, as part of project to ensure equal pay for female workers in Israel, partnered with Israel's Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission to create an online tool--now on the EEOC' s website--that enables employers to enter pay data anonymously and view any potentially discriminatory patterns. The EEOC worker who was Shatil's partner in creating this tool will be cited for her work next month.

Big Win for Center for Women's Justice!

During a visit today to Center for Women's Justice, the Hadassah Foundation learned that it's Jerusalem-based grantee just had a major win. Director Susan Weiss, pictured, reported that the Israeli courts just ruled that a man who hid his business partner for 10 years (!!!) in order to help his associate evade giving a get, a Jewish religious divorce to his wife, could be held liable for his actions. The divorcing women received a settlement worth around $60,000.
They also won a judgement that enables women from all streams of Judaism in Israel to use the Orthodox-controlled ritual baths for conversion and other purposes.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Grantee Spotlight: The Jewish Family Service of San Diego’s Girls Give Back Program

The Girls Give Back program educates teen girls on gender inequality, develops concrete leadership skills, and empowers young women to actively engage in the San Diego community through ongoing volunteer work and service learning projects.
Emma Glassman-Hughes, pictured above, an alumna of Jewish Family Service of San Diego's "Girls Give Back" program, became involved at the age of 16 when a friend told her about the program. She attributes much of her success to her mentor, Jessica Nare, the former Director of Leadership Programs at JFSSD who created the program.  

Girls Give Back was like no other program Emma had ever experienced. Before joining, Emma would have never publicly identified herself as a feminist. It exposed her to the history and importance of the movement, including to feminist icons such as Susan B. Anthony and Betty Friedan.

According to Emma, if it was not for her time with Girls Give Back, where she eventually served as a mentor to younger students, she wouldn't have had the chance to explore her political positions, or had the space to interact with, be challenged by, and learn from other Jewish girls her age. Emma attributes her current work—as the lead writer for a feminist (and successful) women's health start-up in New York City—to her experience with GGB; she is simultaneously pursuing her college degree in Boston.  

 "This program not only empowers young girls to discover themselves politically and to develop themselves as speakers, creators, and thinkers; it makes the part of the women's movement that is closely aligned with anti-poverty, racial justice, and political reform movements accessible and relevant for young Jewish girls--the majority of whom are coming from upper-middle class families.  

We were given the opportunity to convene downtown at a non-profit, short-term housing facility for homeless and at-risk youth, and to host an informational meeting about feminism with some of the kids of the shelter. It was the first time that I was forced to recognize that social perspectives are going to differ depending on social circumstances, and that a homeless girl of 16 might have a different opinion about feminism than her financially-stable counterparts. Instead of making it a teaching experience, we took the time to listen to our homeless peers' grievances and hear their stories. This exchange enriched our activism exponentially, and it was an opportunity unique to the work done by GGB.
The work I did with San Diego's homeless communities was some of the most meaningful hands-on work I have done, and GGB gave me a front-row seat to observe (as well as give me a shiny set of tools to facilitate) social change at its most inspiring!"