Gender Segregation as Sexual Harassment
Tel Aviv University Law Review, Vol. 35, 703-746 (2013)
44 Pages Posted: 30 Dec 2011 Last revised: 22 Oct 2013
Date Written: April 1, 2011
The Article argues that gender segregation in Israel is in fact a form of sexual harassment under Israeli Law. Section 3(a)(5) of the Israeli Prevention of Sexual Harassment Law of 1998 defines sexual harassment also as “[a]n intimidating or humiliating reference directed towards a person concerning his sex/gender or his sexuality, including his sexual orientation.” Analyzing the case of gender segregation in public transportation in certain cities in Israel, I argue that forcing women to sit in the back of the buses constitutes “an intimidating or humiliating reference directed towards” their sex/gender or their sexuality, and thus sexual harassment. I also argue that the current rising Jewish religious fundamentalism, with its relatively new demands for gender segregation (bus segregation began in 1997) is paradoxical in the sense that its motivation is to erase female sexuality, but by being so preoccupied with women’s “modesty” it in fact puts their sexuality at the center of attention. Therefore, gender segregation is not only sexual harassment; it is also a self-defeating concept from the religious point of view as well.
Note: Downloadable document is in Hebrew.
Keywords: Gender Segregation, Sexual Harassment, Israel, Women, Feminism, Discrimination, ultra-Orthodox, multi-culturalism
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