Kayan's "Discussions" page is a forum for analysis, insight and opinion exploring the lives of women in our society. The perspectives reflected in these articles do not necessary reflect the views of Kayan, but rather display a diversity of ideas and experiences within the realm of women's rights.
Kamir, Orit. "Dignity, Respect and Equality in Sexual Harassment Law: Israel's New Legislation" (2003, in New Directions in Sexual Harassment Law, eds. Catharine MacKinnon and Reva Segal, Yale University Press, New Haven, 561-581).
Sexual harassment is a universal affliction, endured and resisted by women (and men) everywhere. Since the early 1970s, U.S. feminist legal scholarship and judicial decisions have been breaking new ground, developing legal strategies designed to confront sexual harassment head-on. Although a host of social and legal issues have been resolved, others are still being investigated and debated. Professor Orit Kamir illustrates how an exploration of U.S. sexual harassment law and feminist theory enabled a new conceptualization, befitting the needs, features and circumstances of Israeli society and law. Starting with a brief analysis of some successes and limits in the development of U.S. sexual harassment doctrine, this paper will use the recent Israeli sexual harassment law to show how dialogue between U.S. and Israeli feminists brought about Israel’s creative legal treatment of sexual harassment. Kamir is convinced that just as the U.S. experience was crucial to the formulation of the new Israeli law, any development around the world can be useful for other feminist communities and their countries’ legal systems.
Sa'ar, Amalia. 2007. "Contradictory location: assessing the position of Palestinian women citizens of Israel" Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 3 (3), 45-74.
This paper takes issue with a certain inconsistency in the collective portrait of Palestinian women citizens of Israel, as it is depicted in the feminist literature which emphasizes, simultaneously, multiple forms of oppression and impressive resisting capacities, but does not give sufficient explanation of how these two seemingly contradictory aspects interrelate. Cultural anthropologist Amalia Sa'ar argues, using ethnographic data, that more attention than that paid so far should be given to structural tensions between the various regimes that compose the Israeli-Palestinian gender order, notably the family, the state, and the national/ethnic communities. While the shared patriarchal nature of these regimes produces powerful experiences of omnipresent and naturalized oppression, competition among them allows women some very important latitude. Her emphasis on the contradictory location of Palestinian women in Israel is intended to place their agency in finer perspective, through elaborating the structural setting within which it is made possible.
The Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions, from the Perspective of Women and Human Rights Defenders
What is the Point of a Revolution if One Cannot Dance?
Caroline Sakina Brac de la Perriére of the Mediterranean Women’s Fund (MedWomenFund) argues that women in the aftermath of the Egyptian and Tunisian Revolutions must be quick to fight tooth and nail against whatever the dominant powers devise for them. They also much, and above all, be a force of creative proposition to bring into their movement the partisans of a more generous world. They are obliged to invest themselves in all areas where decisions for the future management of their country are being taken so that they do not wind up forgotten by their revolution.
Alimony - Dilemmas and Thoughts
Representing Arab women in alimony claims under religious law in Israeli religious and public family courts poses a dilemma for a feminist lawyer, due to the highly patriarchal language and gender-traditions surrounding alimony laws. In three major religions in Israel (Islam, Christianity and Druze), under religious law acknowledged by the State, a woman has the right for alimony as long as she is married and living at her husband's house. The alimony is conditioned upon obedience, in particular, not leaving the house without the husband's consent. In order to avoid payment of alimony, men often claim that the wife had violated the condition of obedience. On the one hand, the client is in need of the alimony, but on the other hand, the traditional roles emphasized in alimony laws contradict feminist principles. Shirin Batshon-Khoury, Coordinator of Kayan's Legal Department, writes about the dilemmas in representing women in alimony cases in the name of a feminist organization.