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Thursday, January 22, 2015 

Haredi women suffer on level like slavery

Some Haredi women are forming their own Knesset list, and while there's no guarantee it'll succeed, they have some interesting points to make about how dreadful their lives are in Haredi society:
The chairwoman of the new U’Vezechutan party Ruth Kolian launched to provide haredi women with Knesset representation described the situation of haredi women in the country as akin to slavery and said that the need for female haredi MKs was overwhelming.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Kolian, who is 33 and married with four children, outlined the reasons why she was starting a new political party to represent haredi women.

“There are a vast number of different population sectors who have representation in the Knesset, Arabs, Jews, Sephardim, Ashkenazim, haredim and so on,” she said.

“But haredi women have no representation at all. There are male haredi representatives but they do not address the needs and concerns of haredi women,” she continued.

Kolian noted that the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women had held a hearing in November to discuss worrying findings about women’s health in the haredi sector, including a thirty percent higher rate of breast cancer mortality and that haredi women have one of the lowest levels of life expectancy in the country.

“Not one of the haredi MKs showed up to the hearing,”
said Kolian. “Haredi women are ranked eighth in Israel for life expectancy, while haredi men are ranked second. This is an unbelievable gap,” she continued.

“The burden and division of labor within a haredi family is completely lop-sided. Women have to bring in an income to support the family financially, take care of the children, cook, and perform other family requirements. Some men are now working but many still go to study all day and this burden on women has a toll.”

Kolian also said that the social stigmatism attached to being a divorced, single woman in haredi society was so intense that many haredi women would not even contemplate filing for divorce from an unpleasant marriage or an abusive husband unless they were in a life-threatening situation.

“Single divorced women are seen as shameful in the haredi community, they are seen as being failures, as not being good enough, and so many choose to suffer in silence,” she said.
More at the link. UTJ's Moshe Gafni isn't making things much better with an interview where he stated that no true Haredi man would work for a living. There's no telling if a party like this will ever make a breakthrough, but as a statement, I can see the significance.

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