Inspired by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy of advancing gender equality and rights for all, The Genesis Prize Foundation awarded $1 million in her honor, plus an additional $1 million from philanthropist Morris Kahn, to 50 organizations supporting Jewish, Arab Israeli, Druze, and Bedouin women in Israel and Jewish women in the United States.
The grant recipients work to create socioeconomic opportunities for women, empower women to resist violence, encourage female students to study STEM subjects, and educate women from minority groups about their rights.
The Israeli recipients were selected through a grant competition facilitated by Matan-United Way which focused on four priority areas:
- Socio-Economic Participation and Opportunity for women
- Creating Gender Equality, particularly around marriage and divorce
- The Rights and Status of Women from Minority Groups
- Empowering Women to Resist Violence
The American grant recipients were selected through a grant competition facilitated by the Jewish Funders Network.
The 37 Israeli grant recipients are listed below.
Socio-Economic Participation and Opportunity
This innovative project incorporates a series of economic empowerment activities for Jewish women from all ethnic backgrounds live in Israel’s geographic and social periphery and face economic hardships.
2. Ajeec Nisped
This program provides guidance to Arab high school graduates in nine communities around the country by equipping them with the tools necessary to succeed in the university and in the workforce as well as offering activities for personal empowerment and social involvement.
3. Friends of Tel Aviv University
This program trains young women, ages 17-25, who have experienced - or are experiencing - difficulties in their lives, to become mentors who will help other young women currently dealing with similar hardships.
This project aims to create safe spaces for young women to meet and mobilize community forces to become organizational and public advocates with the goal of creating equal opportunity for women in leadership positions in the sphere of social change. The groups will meet and execute two projects for the cis- and trans- women community, one directed towards members of organizations and the second for the greater Israeli LGBTQ+ community.
This program trains Jewish and Arab businesswomen and academics with management experience from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds to serve as board members on corporate, public and NGO boards with the goal of creating the first generation of female economic leadership in Israel.
6. JDC - TEVET
This project, directed towards the personal, social and professional advancement of Arab women, provides those in the workforce a broad professional support system. The project is geared towards the unique challenges facing Arab woman as they integrate into the job market and into society at large.
This program is designed as a two-year holistic program to support single mothers with a four-pronged intervention model: quality of life, education, employment and financial management. In addition to support programming, participating women will receive information regarding their rights and direct assistance in utilizing these rights.
This program promotes excellence and employment leadership among ultra-Orthodox working women. Programming strives to realize the potential of ultra-Orthodox women as a force for advancement within the Israeli economy, while also preserving their unique identity.
This project offers Arab-Palestinian and ultra-Orthodox Jewish women in Jerusalem personal, technological and economic empowerment programming aimed at increasing the number of women in the job market and in high-earning positions.
10. She Codes, The Organization for Gender Equality in Tech
Run mostly by volunteers, this program offers free coding classes, lectures, hackathons and other social coding activities for women in the community. These tools are meant to inspire female community members to pursue careers as software developers.
The Women's Cultural Leadership Program aims to empower Jewish and Arab female artists living in the ethnically and religiously diverse cities of Jerusalem, Lod and Haifa. These artists, graduates of art academies, face difficulties gaining recognition from both the professional Israeli art scene and from their home communities.
Creating Gender Equality
This project uses creative public education tools and social media to reframe the discourse around state-mandated Jewish marriage by challenging the status quo and promoting civil and halakhic solutions to what is essentially “marital captivity.”
This pilot program aims to encourage discussions of sexuality in the daily routine of the young women in school. The program's target audience is young, at-risk women, ages 12-18, who are victims of sexual trauma and drug addiction, or who have been removed from their homes by the welfare authorities.
This project aims to instill a greater concern for gender equality in decision-making bodies in Israel. To do this, this program monitors and proposes critical legislation for the protection of women’s rights and the promotion of gender equality, analyzes gender-sensitive bills and parliament activities, and encourages representatives to initiate and participate in relevant discussions in various Knesset committees.
4. Itach Ma'aki, Women Lawyers for Social Justice
This program aims to advance the nation's action plan for professional, personal and health security among underprivileged women workers, particularly in the Arab, Russian-speaking, ultra-Orthodox and Ethiopian communities.
5. Mavoi Satum
Israeli law authorizes rabbinical courts as the sole executor of marriage and divorce, amplifying Get (divorce document) refusal by the husband and denying women basic rights to equality in relationships, family and child custodianship. This project supports Jewish woman who are refused a Get by providing legal representation and therapy for the women until she receives her divorce.
Programming at this pre-army academy aims to develop women's leadership capacity and enable young Israelis to maximize their potential through meaningful military service, paving the way for future leadership and self-realization.
The project trains volunteers to support and accompany women who are undergoing the divorce process through one-on-one counseling and in short-term support groups.
8. Tene Briyut
This project trains young Israeli-Ethiopian women as agents of change within the community. It aims to empower young women to develop leadership skills, equip them with useful, targeted information and ensure healthy discourse on sexuality through peer-group and safe-space discussions.
9. Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
This project will systematically update, publish and distribute the annual Gender Index, an innovative tool for measuring inequality between men and women in key areas of Israeli life: education, labor market, political and economic power.
10. We Power
In partnership with municipalities, local authorities and regional councils, this program trains underprivileged women from the ultra-Orthodox and Arab communities to become socially-involved leaders by providing them with practical leadership and empowerment tools; imparting skills and knowledge that will enable them to make their voices heard; and helping prepare them to execute changes and improvements in their personal sphere and in the public space.
The Rights and Status of Women from Minority Groups
1. Bat Kol
This program provides subsidized counseling and legal aid to LGBTQ+ women and their families who face difficulties due to their sexual and/or gender identity, such as the husband’s refusal to grant them a divorce, alienation from their families and custody battles.
2. Bizchut, The Israel Human Rights Center for People with Disabilities
This project identifies barriersthat prevent women with disabilities from experiencing equal opportunitiesand promotes courses of remedial action. Examples include the discriminatory "disabled housewife" category at the National Insurance Institute, the denial of the right to motherhood, insufficient therapeutic options for victims of sexual molestation and others.
This program aims to reduce the barriers to receiving therapeutic treatment experienced by young ultra-Orthodox girls, ages 12-26. The program helps them overcome their objections to treatment offered at community centers and supports the gradual development of strong relationships between therapeutic counselors and young women that is based on trust.
4. Isha L'Isha - Haifa Feminist Center
This program is aimed at supporting non-citizens of Israel, such as women trafficked into Israel for prostitution, Palestinian women from the West Bank and female asylum-seekers and refugees. The goal of the program is to ensure that basic human rights, healthcare, safety and protection and work opportunities are accessible to all women regardless of their citizenship status.
5. Kav LaOved
This program aims to empower female workers in the caregiving sector by raising awareness of their basic human rights, labor rights and their right to legal protection against violence, sexual assault and deprivation of liberty.
This innovative initiative offers Arab and Jewish women from disadvantaged communities access to academic studies, career advancement and community leadership through the formation of a facilitated groups of women who are committed to creating meaningful change in their lives and in their community, and the building of partnerships with community, municipality and academic organizations.
The project includes a media campaign to raise awareness among Israeli Russian speakers about women's issues and human rights. The goal is to inspire women in the Russian speaking community to pursue positions of social and political leadership and cultivate valuable networks to aid in their advancement.
8. The Association for the Improvement of the Status of Women (Desert Embroidery)
The Desert Embroidery program combines lectures and course-work to promote workforce empowerment for unemployed Bedouin women. By encouraging activity at the Visitors' Center and providing professional marketing support through the creation of an online store, this program will help these women gain access to employment opportunities, expand into new markets and increase their customer base, and increase their income.
This two-year, awareness-raising program empowers women in the Arab and ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities through seminars and workshops around the country led by health and gender professionals. Lectures on the topics of sexuality, reproductive health and reproductive rights are based on the premise that "knowledge is power." A survey will also be conducted for use by numerous resources.
Women’s Empowerment to Resist Violence
1. The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel (ARCCI)
Available at nine support centers across the country, this program offers legal support and media assistance for the survivors of sexual violence. The program will also develop programs to increase visibility in the Knesset, governmental offices and law enforcement agencies.
2. Bat Melech
Bat Melech operates two shelters for Haredi women, but thousands more religious women live in the shadow of violence, unable to share with their experience or receive assistance. This project will create an accessible system with legal and social assistance for abused women from the Haredi community and raise awareness that support exists through teams of lawyers, therapists, wives of rabbis and other community volunteers.
3. Maslan: The Negev's Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Support Center
This project focuses on women living at the fringes of Israeli society - impoverished women oppressed by their patriarchal communities, women with disabilities and elderly women - who cope with violence in general and sexual violence in particular, and whose voices are not yet heard. The program works through preventative educational seminars, treatment for survivors of sexual abuse and violence, and the creation of a capacity for self-protection among women.
4. Min Hamezar
This program offers a unique seminar model for the prevention of sexual abuse, specifically geared towards the Haredi community. The National Education Program is intended to engage with local municipalitieswith significant Haredi populations across the country.
This program offers a professional development course on gender-based violence for 25 activists who make up the backbone of educational and volunteering activities for Russian-speakers across the country. This program will also offer support to rape crisis centers and abuse hotlines, enabling them to offer support to exclusively Russian speakers.
6. Tahel, Crisis Center for Religious Women and Children
This project creates an interfaith coalition of leading clergy from the four primary religions in Israel (Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Druze), who will work together to denounce sexual violence, produce a clergy code of conduct, host a conference denouncing sexual violence and train clergy to prevent sexual abuse within their communities.
One of the largest sources of sexual abuse and exploitation is the internet, specifically dating websites, where women often experience harassment, obscene advances and proposals of prostitution. The program “Safety Net” offers a new standard of quality and security for women accessing online dating sites, offering a mechanism to empower women and create a safe space for them on the internet.