Women, Welfare and Civil Society Organizations: Creating an Alternative Women's Welfare Sphere in Israel.

מיכל אלמוג-בר, Malka Ajzenstadt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the phenomenon of Israeli civil society organizations (CSOs) providing services to women as part of the creation of an alternative women's welfare sphere in Israel in recent years, and its influence upon the welfare state and women. The creation and the existence of the women's civil society sphere can be seen as part of a move by the Israeli welfare state towards a liberal-style economic regime. The article examines the services and mode of operation of fourteen organizations offering welfare, health and educational services to women in Israel, using a qualitative research method. The study identifies four traits characterizing these organizations: their loose connections with the welfare state, the use of sectoral and selective criteria determining eligibility for their services, the mirroring of internal dynamics of the community and its response to gender issues, and the CSOs' holistic, sporadic and unprofessional services. The analysis highlights the gender dimensions of civil society organizations, the characteristics of structure and content of the services they offer, and the role and place of civil society organizations operating parallel to the welfare state. It sheds light on the complex nature of this sphere and its services, which contribute to the empowerment and improvement of women's lives but, simultaneously, strengthen and reinforce their exclusion and marginalization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-688
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Policy and Administration
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2010


  • CIVIL society
  • WELFARE state
  • WOMEN'S programs
  • PUBLIC welfare
  • WOMEN'S societies & clubs
  • Alternative welfare sphere
  • Civil society
  • Women
  • Women's organizations


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