By Angie Hsu, Resource Development Manager

In March 2013, Kav LaOved will begin implementation of a new project: “Her Right to Decent Work: Arab and Ethiopian women in secondary schemes of employment in Israel,” which promotes gender equality in Israel, specifically women’s social and economic empowerment. The three-year European Union-funded project will be implemented with partners Kayan Feminist Organization, Itach-Maaki – Women Lawyers for Social Justice, and the Law Rights Clinic of Tel Aviv University.

The project’s objective is to improve the socio-economic situation of Arab and Ethiopian women workers in Israel, with a special focus on enforcing the minimum wage law. Working women from these communities are most often employed in secondary schemes of the labor market, mainly in subcontracted, temporary and hourly labor, resulting in low pay, poor working conditions, and vulnerability to exploitation and abuse.

22% of Arab women and 63.7% of Ethiopian women in Israel participate in the civilian labor force, compared to 70% of Jewish Israeli women; and 45.1% of Ethiopian women are employed in unskilled labor, compared to 6.7% of all other Jewish Israeli women. In Israel, women make up 65% of recipients of social assistance [Adva Center, 2008] – poverty and unemployment have a particularly detrimental effect on women. It is therefore all the more necessary to promote decent work and livelihoods for women and prevent violations of their labor and human rights, which will then result in greater economic and social stability for themselves, their families and communities.