In light of international women’s day, Kav LaOved – Workers’ Hotline is issuing a report eviewing the situation of thousands of asylum seeking working women in Israel.

As of the beginning of 2015, about 15% of forty-five thousand asylum seekers living in Israel are women. They are not only marginalized because of their status and nationality, but also because of their sex. UNHCR emphasizes refugee women especially, and recognizes them as a vulnerable group. These women often face a hard situation where they are required to support themselves and their children on their own for the first time, while facing a difficult economic situation, an undermined political status, and a low level of personal security.

International Women’s Day is marked annually on the 8th of March, and this year Kav LaOved – Workers Hotline is issuing a report, examining the situation of female asylum seekers working in Israel during 2015. The report indicates that economic necessity forces the female asylum seekers to work at all costs and in exploitative conditions. They are often employed in the secondary labor market, which is characterized by contract work and low paying jobs, especially as cleaners. Their rights are violated frequently, with the most prominent violation being laid-off due to pregnancy. 96% of the 359 workers who turned to Kav LaOved – Workers’ Hotline and requested support and counseling during 2014 worked as cleaners in various sectors for hourly wages, and 49.8% were employed by subcontractors. This data is combined with the other challenges that characterize the work of women in general, such as the impact of standards and cultural gender norms, sexual harassment, pregnancy, motherhood and more.

Alongside the alarming trend of increased rights violations of female asylum seekers working in Israel, the report also indicates a sharp increase in the number of women asylum seekers who have turned to Kav Laoved for assistance in recent years, with the primary and most brusque violation of their rights being dismissal during pregnancy. In 2012 the organization received 15 women who were illegally dismissed while pregnant, in 2013 the number had almost doubled, reaching 26 women, and in 2014, 85 asylum seekers who were laid off during pregnancy were assisted by Kav LaOved. These numbers highlight the spread of this illegal trend.

The report also presents the findings of a survey carried out in 2014 amongst female asylum seekers workers. It is a qualitative analysis based on a questionnaire, which includes 40 questions in three areas: general background, working conditions and knowledge of labor rights, and the terms and cost of living in Israel.

To read the report click here: Report

To read the report in English click here: Report in English