The Israel Women's Network's free legal aid service made possible the equal protection of the law available to all women in Israel, by providing free legal support concerning gender related discrimination in the workforce. Thousands of women who use the service receive direct quality, free and holistic legal aid and representation regarding a broad variety of women’s rights issues. These issues include labor law during pregnancy, maternity leave, fertility treatments, equal pay and representation and sexual harassment.
Our team of lawyers assist women affected by discrimination in the workplace, advising them concerning legal actions, notifying them about their rights and issuing warning letters to employers who violate the rights of their employees, if needed.
When appeals reach the hotline and require legal representation in court, IWN's enforcement unit, composed of expert lawyers, represent women in labor court proceedings, mediation and compromise procedures. The IWN also petitions the Israeli High Court of Justice as a public petitioner in precedent-setting cases relating to the status of women in Israel. In cases that effect and change the existing laws, the IWN increases enforcement and promotes the status of women in Israel.
In 2017, the IWN established a unique hotline designed to serve ultra-Orthodox working women. While the employment rates of ultra-Orthodox women in Israel have continually increased, they are still among the most marginalized workers in the Israeli workforce. Data from the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of Women’s Status show that the labor force participation rate among ultra-Orthodox women is nearly equal to that of secular women (72 percent vs. 75 percent), yet their wages are significantly lower (60 percent). Ultra-Orthodox women employed within this community are often denied basic legal rights (maternity leave, vacation and sick days, legal hearings and compensation upon dismissal); within the general labor market, the ultra-Orthodox receive lower wages and less social benefits, when compared to their secular counterparts. Cultural and social barriers intensify and deepen these gaps, with many ultra-Orthodox women reluctant to confront their employers or seek legal help. To cater to this need, we have developed the Legal Hotline for ultra-Orthodox Women.
The IWN created an accessible hotline, advertised to the ultra-Orthodox population, addressing the specific issues Ultra-Orthodox women face in the workforce. Hundreds of Haredi women apply for assistance via the hotline and outreach efforts reach thousands of Haredi working women in their community.
In the thirty years that the hotlines have been operating, the IWN has made great strides, setting court precedents concerning women's rights in the workforce, allowing women to fight for their rights, and changing the status of women in Israel.