The Hadassah Foundation has awarded the 2018 Bernice S. Tannenbaum Prize to Michal Gera Margaliot, Executive Director of the Israel Women's Network (IWN) in Tel Aviv. The Bernice S. Tannenbaum Prize recognizes emerging professionals who have made innovative contributions to advance the status of women and girls in Israel and the United States. Awardees demonstrate a high degree of talent, commitment, and accomplishment in their work. The prize honors Bernice S. Tannenbaum, z''l, for her lifetime of service to the Jewish People; the State of Israel; and Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America.
Margaliot, pictured above, was awarded the prize for her work with IWN, where, as executive director since 2016, she has significantly increased the organization's media presence and influenced public debate about the status of women in Israeli society. Under her leadership, the IWN has established a network for the different feminist groups in Israel, forged numerous partnerships with governmental agencies, created a hotline that provides legal aid to ultra-Orthodox working women, and advocated for feminist employment policies and practices.
Earlier in her career, Margaliot was the parliamentary advisor to Knesset Member Merav Michaeli, and served as her chief of staff when Michaeli was the opposition whip. This experience, along with her LL.B and LL.M from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has enabled her to expand IWN's advancement of policy and legislation in the Knesset and in government ministries.
"I am humbled and honored to be recognized by a veteran and leading organization, the Hadassah Foundation, and in honor of a woman like Bernice Tannenbaum," said Margaliot. "Having the Hadassah Foundation recognize the work we are doing in Israel is most important for us, as we face constant attacks on women rights through gender segregation and exclusion of women from public spheres. Our long partnership is truly empowering and allows us to continue striving and fighting for equality for all women in Israel."
Established in 1984, the Israel Women's Network (IWN) is a nonpartisan civil society organization working to advance the status of women in Israel by promoting equality and diversity via a range of innovative projects and programs that target change on a policy level. The IWN is responsible for some of the most prominent and precedent-setting gains towards women's equality in Israel over the years, including: admittance of women into the Israel's Air Force; enforcing women's representation in public companies' directorates; updating sexual harassment laws; extending maternity leave for working mothers; delaying the extension of women's retirement age; establishing a National Committee for the Advancement of Women in the Israeli Knesset; and an Israeli Supreme Court decision that shifted the burden of proof from employee to employer in wage-gap discrimination cases.
"Michal Gera Margaliot is an outstanding leader in the Israeli feminist movement," said Julie Morris, chair of the Hadassah Foundation. "We are excited to honor her achievements to-date, and feel she has the potential to have an even greater impact on Israeli society."
The Prize provides $500 in general operating support to the IWN, as well as $2,500 to further Margaliot's professional development. Margaliot will use her Prize to fund her communication skills to increase the visibility of the IWN and the status of Israeli women to a non-Israeli public and the English-speaking media.