On May 17, Kayan-Feminist Organization, in cooperation with the Authority for the Advancement of Women in the Office of the Prime Minister and the Union of Local Authorities in Israel, concluded the final session of the professional training course, “Prevention of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.” This accredited, eight-session program featured a full curriculum of lectures, seminars, professional development workshops and educational materials designed to professionalize the efforts of Arab women appointees for the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace.
All 10 women who applied for a certification successfully completed the course by presenting a final project in which they developed their own campaign that dealt with the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace. The final meeting on May 17 served as a forum in which the women were able to present their ideas and conclude the course with an evaluation and graduation ceremony.
Throughout the workshop, participants learned to analyze the local authority through a prism of gender, including the structure, leadership, ratio of women to men in the workplace, the role of the appointee, and the regulations against sexual harassment. The women analyzed their local context in order to build a successful program against sexual harassment that would fit the authority’s specific needs and structure.
Alhan Nahas-Daoud of Kayan’s Legal Department was very impressed by the projects the women developed. One of the participants wrote a proposal for “Complaint Examination,” in which she constructed a process of examination for complaints on sexual harassment. She prepared special documents to detail each complaint, and also crafted a declaration against sexual harassment that would be mandatory for all employees to endorse. This declaration, as well as the documents for complaints, will be distributed to the appointees in the local authority.
Other participants collaborated in constructing a “Program for Awareness-Raising on the Prevention of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.” They focused on two local authorities that are very similar in size and structure, and intend to cooperate. The women suggested that the law against sexual harassment be posted conspicuously in the authority building. Further, each year the employees will fill out a questionnaire to evaluate their awareness and knowledge of the law and their duties.
The women expressed satisfaction with the workshop, the arrangement of the courses, the issues discussed, and the lectures presented. They are now ready to return to their job with more responsibility and knowledge, despite not yet knowing which obstacles they may face in the workplace. They now have the tools to raise awareness about sexual harassment, as well as a network of individuals and organizations that can mentor and support them in their work, including Kayan, the Commission of Equal Opportunity, and the Center of Local Councils.
During the conclusion of the course, the women reflected on the knowledge they had obtained on the structure of the local council, including the means to analyze the budget from a feminist perspective. They requested additional meetings in the future, with a focus on the challenges of working in a traditional Arab community. Kayan distributed contact information and will continue to support the women in the months ahead.