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MKs call to put more women in key defense, diplomatic positions
By LAHAV HARKOV
15/07/2014
Gal-On: "The Israeli discourse does not take women's perspectives into consideration."
 
More women should play instrumental roles in determining the country’s defense and diplomatic policies, MKs said at a joint meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women.

The meeting on Monday focused on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which, among other things, called for women to take their place as decision-makers and make their voices heard on issues of peace and security.

Israel was the first country to pass parts of the decision made in 2000 as law, but does not have a plan to implement it.

“When women are not in positions where they can make decisions and are not included in the experts and commentators who explain wars to us, all of society loses,” Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), chairwoman of the Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women, said.

Lavie dismissed a complaint from lawmakers that wartime is not the right time to discuss feminism. “Even in a time of war we need to promote women’s personal security. They are not more protected during a war; the opposite is true,” she said.

“I will continue to fight to integrate women in every committee and to have gender- based thinking everywhere,” Lavie continued.

“The time has come to learn from countries where women hold key defense positions, through legislation and incentives.”

MK Ronen Hoffman (Yesh Atid), chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Subcommittee for Foreign Policy, said men can learn a lot from women, such as how to get along better with others without trying to outdo each other.

“Unfortunately, we need to take artificial steps to bring about what should be obvious,” Hoffman said. “We need all kinds of methods to change the situation quickly and organize a critical mass of female presence in every place influential decisions are made.”

Anat Tahoun Ashkenazi, manager of the 1325 Women Leading Peace and Security organization, pointed to other countries that faced conflicts and implemented the plan, such as Bosnia and the Philippines.

“This plan is bearing significant fruit and makes the government responsible” for integrating women, she said.

Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said there are seven male security cabinet members and only one female.

“The Israeli discourse does not take women’s perspectives into consideration,” Gal- On said. “It cannot be that we have to fight for every committee.

After a decade [since Resolution 1325 was passed], we’re still at the point where we have to complain and threaten so that women will be included on committees.”

Vered Sweid, chairwoman of the Authority for the Advancement of Women, said that from 2009 to 2013 the proportion of women in public committees rose from 23 percent to 39.4 percent.

“It’s not easy. We need to fight for every spot,” she lamented.

Sweid suggested that there should sanctions on companies that do not appoint women.
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