Iris Stern Levi is an Israeli social activist focused on issues of women’s and human rights. She is co-founder of the non-profit organizations Her Academy (2016) and Turning the Tables (2011), both of which work to provide occupational training for women who are survivors of prostitution and violence.

Stern Levi is also on the board of Coalition of Women for Peace, co-director of the Testimony Tribunal of Women Victims of Sexual Assault, and was the volunteer coordinator for the Tel Aviv Sexual Assault Crisis Center for 16 years.

Her Academy was founded by Stern Levi and Tal Hamoui Granot in 2016. The organization offers vocational training for women seeking to return to the workforce after years in prostitution and dealing with its corollary issues of addiction, poverty, marginalization, ill health, depression and so on.

In 2017, Stern Levi and Hamoui Granot won the Yaffa London Yaari Foundation Award for the establishment and management of Her Academy. In the reasoning for the award, the committee cited the two women’s varied work and activities, and described Her Academy as “providing a unique framework of vocational training with courses in a variety of professional fields, such as: computer skills and website development, confectionery and cookery, childcare, fashion sales, dog-care, and bicycle maintenance.”

That same year, Stern Levi and Hamaoui Granot were also recipients of the Knesset Speaker’s Quality of Life Award.

Another initiative Stern Levi launched was creation of the Women’s Professional Service Network, a directory of women professionals, focused particularly on the fields of home services and maintenance, such as electricians, plumbers, gardeners, carpenters, home repair and handywomen, locksmiths, painters, and other areas in which women are a tiny minority, such as taxi drivers and movers.

Stern Levi guides women’s empowerment groups, and since 2016, also leads gender consciousness groups for homosexual men. She is a frequent lecturer on feminist subjects, in particular the representations of women in media and advertising. She is active in protests on various issues, from femicide, to racism against Ethiopian Jews, to solidarity with Gaza.

In February 2018, Stern Levi was awarded the Sussman-JDC Award for Excellence in Social Action for her activities within the framework of Her Academy, in the category of preventing abuse of oppressed and marginalized populations.

Stern Levi has two adult children with cultural historian Dror K. Levi, and is a grandmother of one. Since 2004, Stern Levi lives with her same-sex partner.

Iris Stern

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead

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