(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Equality for women benefits society in myriad ways, Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel told officials from Middle Eastern countries at a female empowerment conference in Cairo on Monday.
The European Union-sponsored conference’s participants included Jordan, Syria, Morocco, Lebanon, Turkey, Tunisia and Algeria.
Gamliel said in her address: “I believe that integrating women in key positions is a necessary step toward true and sustainable peace.”
The Likud minister told the conference’s attendees that “since its establishment, the vision of the State of Israel has been to form an egalitarian society. Our Declaration of Independence ensures equal rights to all citizens, regardless of religion, race or sex.
“In the 21st century,” Gamliel added, “there is no reason for women to be treated differently from men.”
Gamliel said gender equality can be promoted through economic empowerment and giving women opportunities and tools in the workplace.
The minister also pointed out that her visit is taking place shortly after the 40th anniversary of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Israel.
“This step opened the door for peace between the countries and relations that are preserved to this day in [Egyptian President Abdel Fattah] al-Sisi’s rule,” she added.
Gamliel said Israelis understand what Egypt is going through, following Friday’s terrorist attack on a mosque that took hundreds of lives.
“We stand with the Egyptian people,” she stated. “We feel the pain of their great loss.”
“Terrorism tries to undermine the stability in the region and hurt human lives regardless of religion or nationality. We must act against it everywhere. If, and only if, we say this in one voice and act as one body, we will win,” Gamliel said.