Shin, the Israeli movement for equal representation of women was founded in February 1989, by Esther Hertzog and a group of women and men, in protest against the exclusion of women from political and public leadership positions in Israel. Shin struggles for equal representation of women in politics and in all public and economic spheres of life. Political power is perceived as a means to achieve equality between women and men in society.
Since its foundation Shin carried out numerous activities with the aim of advancing women to decision making positions in the public sphere: the Parliament, the Government, and the Labor union, on both national and local level. Among these activities were: hundreds of house meetings and public debates (about women and leadership, for instance), campaigns in support of women candidates, demonstrations against parties in demand to include women on party lists and leadership positions, issuing a feminist bi-monthly paper, organizing women leadership courses and so on.
Acknowledging the fact that the impact of its activities was significant but rather limited and the sectorial basis of Israeli political system, Shin established in 1992 a women’s party which did not enter the parliament. In 1999 another women’s party (“equal representation”) was founded by the movement but decided to withdraw from the campaign a short time before the elections took place.
Soon after the 1999 elections Shin has established a “Women’s Parliament”, a political feminist forum for critical debates about prevailing policies and discourse in Israel. The Parliament meets once a month, six times a year, in different places all over the country.
Along the 13 years of its activity Shin has entered various spheres of activities, apart from its its activities in the political sphere. This emerged from both, the understanding that major feminst interests are not attended by other women organiztions and in response to expectations that women expressed in the Parliament gatherings. The most conspicuous examples for these activities are the struggle against pornography (resulting in a law against pornography in television) and the Jewish-Arab women leaders group, that aims to contribute to peace endevours and to gender equality.