Yeshiva World News recently ran an article about Miriam Tress’ important battle for the rights of ultra-Orthodox women educators who suffer from employment discrimination. Mrs. Tres raised this painful issue before the Torah U’Mesurah annual President’s Conference where participants—rabbis and activists from across the United States—convened to discuss the needs of the various communities.
It turns out that the occupational discrimination of ultra-Orthodox female educators is as rampant in the Diaspora as it is in the Holy Land of Israel; Nivcharot has raised this issue time and time again in Knesset debates.
The government ignores the employment conditions of ultra-Orthodox daycare workers and educators in Israel.
"I would like to raise a critical problem in ultra-Orthodox society, specifically in daycare centers," explained Raaya Mery, representative of Nivcharot, to a committee responsible for reviewing conditions of employment of daycare workers.
The committee convened following the declaration of a strike by the heads of the large daycare organizations. While most of the committee's discussions revolved around the already unsatisfactory working conditions of daycare workers, Nivcharot sought to draw attention to the serious violation of the protective rights suffered by daycare workers in ultra-Orthodox institutions.
Overflooding of job markets in certain professions
Studies conducted in Israel by the Haredi Institute for Policy Affairs and the Hotline for Haredi Women of the Israel Women's Network found that the basic rights of female Haredi employees are systematically violated mainly by Haredi employers.
It is no secret that the tracking system in ultra-Orthodox education has caused a surplus of daycare workers and educators, which now enables widespread violation of the rights of ultra-Orthodox female employees. Another factor that exacerbates the problem is that many ultra-Orthodox women from underserved populations are the only breadwinners in the family, and usually do not know their rights.
Working to improve employment conditions of ultra-Orthodox daycare workers
In the position paper submitted to the committee, Nivcharot called on the government to take responsibility and monitor employment conditions in ultra-Orthodox daycare centers through one authority and encourage the Ministry of Education to directly employ teachers and daycare workers and therefore ensure that they receive their rights. In addition, we demanded immediate action to enforce the rights of female educators and daycare workers in ultra-Orthodox institutions to deter employers. We also recommended publishing a brochure on employee rights and disseminating this information in Haredi communities and through various media outlets. Inn this way, women who do have internet access as a result of their traditional lifestyle will still be able to access this important information.
It goes without saying that we must also promote more employment opportunities and increase mobility for ultra-Orthodox women. This will decrease the number of women applying for jobs as teachers and daycare workers and significantly reduce the instances of unfair employment contracts and violation of employment rights.
The video shows Nivcharot member Raaya Mery participating, via Zoom, in the Knesset committee meeting on employment conditions in daycare centers. which took place on October 4, 2021.