Shalvi has been a pioneer in advancing the status of women in Israel and in religious girls' education. She has been an active participant in peace dialogues and inter-religious initiatives and has been a social activist all her life. Born in Germany in 1926 to Orthodox parents, Shalvi grew up in London and studied English at Cambridge, before moving to Jerusalem in 1949 where she went on to pursue a PhD at Hebrew University, eventually teaching English Literature. In 1950, Shalvi met and married her husband, Moshe Shelkowitz (later Shalvi), who died in 2013. They had six children together. One of Shalvi's greatest accomplishments was the establishment of the Pelech School which she headed from 1975 to 1990. This experimental/ progressive religious high school for girls in Jerusalem has become a model for women's Orthodox education across the country. Shalvi was a co-founder of the Israel Women's Network, established to advance the status of women. In 2007 she was awarded the Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievements in the areas of education, social welfare and human rights.