No Longer Complacent?: Why Israeli Women Did Not Rebel

Working Paper

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CDDRL Working Papers


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Why did Israeli women not fight for social equality until the late 1980s? And what changed their individual and collective willingness to act? The paper maintains that social action to improve women's positions in society did exist before the late 1980s but it was mostly not rebellious in the sense that it was not directed against men or the existing social order. The main factor behind the inaction is the lack of feminist ideologies that affect and support gender identities. This kind of feminist gender identity was inhibited in Israel by the inter-relations among three factors: (1) the lack of ideological pluralism, (2) the influence of traditional and religious beliefs, and (3) the effect of national, total, and masculine institutions (like the Israeli army). The same factors - or some combinations of these factors - may inhibit women's activism in other societies as well.

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