An Interview with the IWN’s manager of the Exclusion of Women project

Elinor Davidov: The battle against exclusion is not only a feminist battle

Elinor Davidov, the manager if the IWN Exclusion project has been chosen as one of the 50 Social Change Heroes of 2018. Here is a short interview with her about the important work she does

Elinor Davidov, 39, began her political activism in the “London and Kirschenbaum” television magazine show on Channel Ten. She was part of the establishment of the female press corps and the journalists’ organization. After Elinor and her partner had their daughter, Elinor decided to take her social activism a step forward.

She was asked to manage the campaign against the annulment of early childhood custody, and thus became involved in all issues related to divorced mothers and their situation. Today, at the Israel Women’s Network, Davidov is leading managing one of the most successful struggles in recent years: the battle against the exclusion of women.

The Ministry of Justice claims that this is phenomenon that is expanding, explains Davidov, who holds a master’s degree in cultural research and interpretation from Bar-Ilan University. “It’s hard to know how many events are held in separation in the different municipalities. I am notified about them only because of people who approach us via our designated hotline and report a certain event, so the vast majority of the events are overlooked. In the academia, it was claimed that gender separation will apply only in specific bachelor degree programs and only those that are intended for ultra-Orthodox students, but that is also expanding. It’s not only intended for ultra-Orthodox but also for the national Zionist religious population and it’s not limited to bachelor degree programs”.

In Davidov’s view, this is not only a feminist struggle, but also a struggle over the image and integration of the ultra-Orthodox sector “From the moment the state adopts an attitude that is considered extreme even within the ultra-Orthodox community, this community has no choice but to align with it” she says “It’s exactly what happened with the mehadrin bus routes (gender separated busses). Every few months I receive a phone call from an ultra-Orthodox woman who wants to thank us” she says “I’m not claiming that it represents all Haredi women, or that I speak for all Haredi women, but I have no doubt that many of them suffer from exclusion and gender segregation “

Does Davidov herself believe that this struggle will gain more victories than losses? “It’s a tough struggle” she admits “politically, the winds are blowing in a conservative direction, but we are achieving more and more awareness, people who in the past did not understand the problem with gender segregation, understand today more why we are fighting against it”.

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