From Social Citizenship to Economic Citizenship: Women, Welfare, and Nongovernmental Organizations – Research Team

Empowerment   |   ngoization   |   Women   |   exclusion   |   gender   |   ethnicity   |   welfare
Years of Activity: 2010 - 2019

Research Status:


Prof. Mimi Ajzenstadt, Dr. Michal Bar, Dr. Nitza Berkovitch, Dr. Adriana Kemp, Dr. Amalia Saar

The past two decades have seen rapid growth in the activity of civil-society organizations aimed at the social and economic empowerment of women. This growth is related to changes in the nature of civil society, which is now based more on the activity of nongovernmental organizations – a process known as the “NGOization of civil society.”
This research team is tracing the establishment and activity of civil-society organizations in Israel that are combatting the exclusion of women by means of economic and social empowerment and by supplying welfare services. The study analyzes the changes in the sociopolitical role of civil-society organizations that direct their efforts at empowering women, while taking into account the contribution of gender, ethnicity, and social class to the processes of empowerment, and explores how changes in the perception of citizenship have contributed to the shaping of civil society in a neoliberal socio-economic regime.
The team examines these questions on three levels: an analysis of the activity and role of women’s civil-society organizations that have supplied welfare services to women, from the period before the establishment of the State of Israel to the present; an ethnographic study of the work experiences of women from the lower and lower-middle socioeconomic classes and from various ethno-national backgrounds – a study of the process of the creation of citizenship in excluded social groups; and a detailed study of the growth and institutionalization of the economic empowerment of women by the financial market and by the establishment of small businesses.
This comprehensive study examines how changing perceptions of citizenship contributed to the shaping of civil society in a neoliberal socio-economic regime. The objective is to contribute to the growing body of knowledge on the gendering of civil society, citizenship, governability, and the creation of a new welfare space.