The women who will not be celebrating Women's Day

Most of the workers prefer not to reveal complain or act on the subject of harassment or sexual assault.

March 11, 2019 14:05
2 minute read.
Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment victim [Illustrative]. (photo credit: INIMAGE)


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Women's day? There are women in Israel who earn less than the minimum wage and perform unpaid tasks, in addition to being sexually harassed on a daily basis.

According to the Worker's Hotline, migrant female workers in Israel suffer from harassment and sexual assault, their personal space is non-existent and there are those who are required to perform, alongside their official work, without any monetary compensation, other jobs such as cleaning, childcare and more.

Most of the workers prefer not to file complaint or act on the subject of harassment or sexual assault. The reason is simple: any issue with an employer may leave them without a visa, without a roof over their heads, or with a large financial debt due to the payment of brokerage fees. Their fear of losing their roof and income and the total dependence on their employers, which binds them to them, become a mechanism for silencing one of the most serious phenomena in Israeli society.

In Israel there are 672 female agricultural workers, migrant workers from Thailand who work alongside 21,417 male agricultural workers from their country. Agricultural workers suffer from poor living conditions, medical neglect, and lack of minimum wage, vacations or overtime payment.

A survey conducted by the Worker's Hotline concluded the following statistics:

Privacy, sense of security and exploitation: 37.7% live with men in the same structure, 9.7% live with men in the same room, 57.1% of those with more than three men, 59.7% of women are forced to use the same bathrooms as men, 62.5% share showers with them, 13.9% of the women do not feel safe in their rooms, 18.1% do not feel safe in the showers and 59.7% are forced to work in other jobs in addition to non-agriculture, the vast majority cleaning.

Sexual harassment: 12.5% ​​were exposed to unwanted sexual attention, but only a quarter of them sought help, 9.7% were sexually harassed, 73.6% did not file a complaint and 41.7% did not find complaining to be effective or solve the issue.

As for Palestinian women, a survey found that 92.8% of them worked in agriculture, 73.5% did not receive pay slips, 86% did not receive any vacation days, 70% do not receive travel fees, 88.6% do not receive convalescence payments, and 84% receive less than NIS 170 a day.

While the media celebrates the progress of the status of women in Israel, the status of the migrant female worker looks particularly grave.

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