Kayan works to catalyze system-wide legal reform through in-depth research, issue-based advocacy and strategic outreach. In 2012, Kayan is focusing advocacy to promote the rights of Palestinian women in Israel in two key domains: a) challenging institutionalized, gender-based discrimination in the religious courts; and b) protecting the rights of Palestinian women in the work place.
Challenging institutionalized, gender-based discrimination in the religious courts:
Of core concern in Kayan’s advocacy work is the persistence of ‘obedience provisions’ in the Greek Orthodox and Sharia court systems, which allow for a man to demand his spouse to return to him in cases of separation. Obedience laws constitute a discriminatory procedural tool for subjecting women to humiliating processes and terminology. Though such provisions are no longer practically enforceable, a fact many Arab women remain unaware of, such provisions nonetheless place constraints on women’s ability to actualize the right to shared income.
Spousal Obedience in the Religious Courts, 2010 Arabic | Hebrew
The Sharia legal system utilizes arbitration as an integral component of divorce proceedings. The court requires each party to appoint their own representatives, though litigants may only be represented by men; if the parties are unable to reconcile, arbitration is employed as a means for peaceful separation. Arbitration also serves as a basis for the determination of fault, which has legal and financial implications in divorce proceedings. Kayan advocates the incorporation of Arab women as arbitrators in order to promote Arab women’s leadership in adjudication within the Sharia court system.
Civil and Mixed Marriage, 2010 Arabic
The multifold Christian courts in Israel lack adequate transparency and provide scant information about even the most basic procedural and canonical matters. Kayan strives to improve women’s experiences within the Christian court systems by providing as much information about these courts as possible, researching and publicizing the experiences of litigants, and advocating reform vis-à-vis stakeholders within the system itself.
Ecclesiastical Courts in Israel, A Gender-responsive Perspective, 2012 English | Arabic | Hebrew
Protecting the rights of Palestinian women in the work place
Since 2008, Kayan has advocated the activation of liaisons for the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace. Due in large part to Kayan’s intervention, 60% of Arab local authorities now adhere to the law mandating such appointments. Beyond technical compliance however, Kayan is working to ensure the spirit of the law is also realized by urging local authorities to provide appointees requisite resources and support for the prevention of sexual harassment. Many appointees do not understand the law, their duties or responsibilities, and are given inadequate information and latitude to intervene. Kayan provides these appointees advanced educational resources and a framework of exchange and support for ongoing professional development and capacity building
Sexual Harassment in the Work Place - Responsibility of Employers, 2010 Arabic | Hebrew
Recognizing that legislation has proved in and of itself insufficient to ensure the realization of Arab women’s economic rights in Israel, Kayan examines the obstacles facing female employees in order to inform the development of effective responses. Our research investigates labor rights actualization and expose institutionalized discrimination in the Arab private sector in Israel. Extensive outreach and educational activities serve to enhance public awareness and respect for women’s rights to equitable employment, while generating grassroots pressure to hold decision-makers accountable for upholding the law.