On the 18th of March, Kayan Community Organizers Adella Biadi-Shlon and Towibah Majdoub participated in a full-day training with the Adva Centre in order to learn how to analyze local council budgets. This capacity building initiative was carried out to help Kayan support specific, targeted local authority budget propositions designed to improve the socio-economic situation of Arab women.
To learn the necessary terminology and better understand the situation in which local budgets are built, the organizers had the guidance of advocacy expert, Valeria Seigelshifer, of the Adva Center and the Women’s Budget Forum, Yael Hasson, researcher, lecturer and coordinator of the Women’s Budget Forum, and attorney, Noga Dagan Buzaglo, researcher and lecturer at the Adva Center. Indeed, Arab local council struggle with a lack of allocations from the Israeli state, amidst wider discrimination targeting Arab citizens. The state is reluctant to invest into industrial zones, for example, or other necessary improvements to the local economy in Arab towns.
This basic training is part of Kayan’s broader efforts to mainstream gender in Arab local authority budgeting processes. Kayan’s Gender Equality in Local Budgets initiative, launched in 2011, seeks to provide Arab women with tools to identify gender-based discrimination in local budgeting processes, as well as bring the influence of grassroots Arab women leaders to bear on an equitable, needs-based allocation of public resources. This project empowers activists to examine the various impacts of economic policy, including inter-related systems, laws, budgetary allocations and social initiatives, on the status of Arab women in Israel. Leveraging expert, gender-oriented policy analysis, Kayan works to improve public decision-making processes, ensuring resources are spent fairly in order to reduce socio-economic inequalities between women and men.
“It’s work we can only do step by step,” says Adella. “We need to be able to analyze budgets precisely in order to see what is missing or hidden.”