Marginalized communities suffer from a lack of resources, further perpetuating growing inequalities already set in the societal system. The good news is, a slow revolution is occurring on the outskirts of mainstream Israeli society. A broad spectrum of girls and women, who have been stuck in oppressive patterns of society, are being given, and taking, new opportunities and resources to enable new possibilities.
About four years ago, Neve Midbar-Nitzana, a school and youth village opened to support Arab education in the most marginalized communities in Israel, where the inaugural class of 22 students recently graduated. Today, a new Center of Scientific Excellence opened, focused specifically on the least educated population in Israel – the Bedouin community. The Negev Excellency program enables the Bedouin community to practice the sciences. Of the 5,100 students, over 3,000 are girls. The program is being run by the Negev Development Authority with support from the Ministry of Development of the Periphery.
On the other side of the spectrum of marginalized women is a small group of Haredi women, who are leaping forward in their own way – as fashion bloggers on Instagram. Given the ingrained sense of modesty and the commonly enforced exemption of women in ultra-religious media presence, a Haredi women’s social media presence can be considered breakthrough. The small group of women are stepping into the modern world, despite living in an Orthodox society which heavily frowns upon women in media. While it might seem small, it is a meaningful move given the historical erasure of women, from books to local advertisements, some of which show dolls in place of girls.
No matter where one falls within the marginal spectrum, each is born into their circumstance whether a young Arab Bedouin girl in the desert or an Israeli Haredi woman. Through continued education, exposure and encouragement, each moves forward with new opportunity, perspectives expanded, potential broadened in a more globalized world. May the girls and women on the margins continue to rise in a slow revolution, until eventually, all margins are created equal.