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Laws Protecting Womens' Rights in Israel and in Your Country

The following are two examples of progressive legislation passed by the Knesset protecting women's rights.


LAW FOR THE PREVENTION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT


This law, passed in 1998 with the help of Knesset Member Yael Dayan (Labor Party at the time, but now Meretz) and several women's organizations, is one of the most progressive of its type internationally. Since it is considered to be one of the building blocks for Israel's future constitution, and also falls under the category of protection of human rights, it bears the following purpose: "to forbid sexual harassment and thus protect one's rights to honor, freedom and privacy therefore advancing equality between the sexes." It is unique in this regard since most laws do not articulate a purpose as such.

The progressiveness and significance of this law is that the definition of what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace or in professional relationships such as therapist-patient, e.g. is very broad. It also includes an understanding of "environmental" harassment, which protects individuals from sexual harassment occurring from such instances as male workers hanging indecent posters of women in the work "environment." Moreover, it protects workers when an employer fails to advance an employee as a result of sexual harassment.


LAW FOR THE PREVENTION OF VIOLENCE IN THE FAMILY


This law, originally passed in 1991, has undergone many alterations, many of which advance the rights of women and children in the family. In its most current formulation, the law provides the option for an "order of protection" (restraining order) for the victim of violence. The victim is no longer taken out of the household and placed in a shelter - rather the aggressor is removed first and held to the terms of the order. The order may be obtained by the victim and enforced following a court appearance or via a police complaint, which then goes before the court of law. This enables women and children to protect themselves from further violence in the home.


Questions
 

  • What laws have been passed advancing protection of women's rights in your country?
     
  • What impact will they have?
     
  • What laws would you like to see passed for women and why?
Type: Class Activity

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