Photographer: Yossi Zamir
After the first conference of gender equality and Israeli civil society organizations was convened by Shatil in March 2022, Shatil staff realized the need for more tangible tools to promote gender equality within NGOs. While civil society organizations generally work towards creating a more equal and democratic country, the organizations themselves do not always adhere to practices that promote gender equality amongst their leadership. Research carried out on behalf of Shatil, drawing on data from 240 NGOs, revealed that 70% of established (defined as having budgets exceeding $3 million) Israeli third sector organizations are led by men. Only 38% of board members are women. On a more optimistic note, the research also revealed that in organizations where more than 50% of board members are women, 75% of the directors are female.
To raise awareness of this issue and promote action, Shatil recently held the first in a series of three training workshops focused on gender equality within civil society organizations. The meeting, held this past Thursday (July 14th), featured Dr. Yael Hasson, the Head of Gender Research at the Adva Center, a leading Israeli progressive think-and-do tank that monitors social and economic developments. Dr. Hasson focused her talk on how to analyze budgets from a feminist perspective and explained how to create a budget that promotes the status of women and reduces gender inequality in society.
According to Shatil staff member Merav Dagan, creating a workshop with practical tools for all types of organizations is important to help create a more equal working environment. She says, “We don’t need to convince them. More and more organizations are open to gender equality and care about it, we just need to step in with the right tools to actually make a change”.
One participant noted, “The subject of the meeting was interesting and very important. The lecturer has a lot of relevant expertise, and it was wonderful to hear about her research and conclusions on the subject.”
These three workshops will focus on tools that promote greater gender equality amongst staff in civil society organizations. Shatil has invited all types of organizations to participate, and the group is diverse and eager to improve their own working conditions. There are currently 67 registered participants, and 24 attended the first live Zoom meeting this past Thursday.
After a successful first meeting, attendants are excited for the next two which are planned for later this month. The second meeting, being held on July 21st, is with Professor of Psychology Dr. Ronit Kark from Bar Ilan University, an expert on leadership and gender. Her presentation will focus on gender equality on organizations’ boards, and how to promote gender equality and bring more opportunities for women into the boardroom. She will provide tangible tools for establishing dynamic relationships between the board and the CEO, especially in the context of promoting more women within the organization.
The third and final meeting on July 28th is with Shatil consultant Tamar Amir who is an expert on gender mainstreaming. In conversation with Gisha, an Israeli NGO whose goal is to protect the freedom of movement of Palestinians, she will discuss how to make organizations more equal and provide tools to start the process. Gisha introduced new gender policies in their organization a few years ago and will offer suggestions to other groups on how to create similar policies.
Each meeting will be an hour and a half long and will provide a space for discussion and learning for all the participants involved. These workshops are just the start of helping Israeli civil society improve gender equality at all levels of Israeli society.