Tel Aviv elections: First-ever all-female list seeks to narrow gender gap

Today, only eight of 31 city council members in Tel Aviv are female.

Female candidates for Tel Aviv city hall elections (photo credit: DVORA ORBACH AND MAYA AMADO)
Female candidates for Tel Aviv city hall elections
For the first time, an all-female list of candidates is contending for slots in Tel Aviv’s City Hall, with a view to balance out the gender gap in representation on the city council. The founder of the list, Shelly Harel, decided to bring together a group of women after observing that only 8 of the 31 city council members are female and none of them lead a party. Harel has previously worked in both the mayor’s office and in the office of the director-general of the municipality.
The aspiring municipal party’s vision is to serve as a precedent for women in Tel Aviv and in general to strive for equality in key organizations in the country.
The group has gathered in excess of the 200 signatures required to run and expects to receive the green light to run in the local elections from the Interior Ministry on Wednesday.
The group’s platform includes issues relevant to women as well as to all residents of the city.
Women-focused aspects of the platform include: support from the municipality for single-parent students; adapting public spaces to be more accessible and friendly for prams and for breastfeeding women; promotion and support of women’s small businesses; and advancement of women in sport.
General subjects on the platform include promoting social businesses and young entrepreneurship, law enforcement on apartment rental and improving dog parks.
There are 13 candidates who are leaders of various fields. Harel has served as the chairwoman of the School of Business Management in the Students Union and had led various social projects including working for disadvantaged communities.
Announcing her decision to establish the party earlier this month, Harel wrote in a Facebook post on the group’s page – Halo, the list of women of Tel Aviv – “I am proud and excited to make history and lead the first list of women to the Tel Aviv City Council, composed of women from all over the Tel Aviv spectrum – young and old, careerists and artists: public opinion leaders who possess a unique fingerprint in the city [and] who all share a feminine power and a genuine desire for change.”
She wrote that while working in the mayor’s office, she watched as council members met month after month “to discuss things that are important to me, you, to us in the city. Most of them are men in their 40s and older. I muttered to myself that this is a certificate of poverty for the women of the city – that less than a third of the council members are women, and none of them lead a faction.”
“2018 is the year of women. The year of the #me_too campaign, the year in which photos are no longer retouched and women are not ashamed of their bodies, the year when breastfeeding began in public, the year in which there is a significant increase in the percentage of women in key positions in the economy,” she continued, adding that next year she hopes to see an increased number of women filling significant space on the Tel Aviv city council.
“So it’s time to shout – Hello! This is our year! Give us space!” The other candidates on the list are: designer and social media marketing and animal rights activist expert Maayan Bodenstein; feminist and businesswoman Hana Rado; Hagar Shefer, a public opinion leader on nutrition and social activism; social entrepre- neur Netali Volanski; business owner Yael Fisher; Screenwriter, director and actress Dikla Elkaslassy; radio and TV broadcaster Shanie Goldstein; writer and entrepreneur Liran Rosen; sports instructor and broadcaster Yarden Appleboim, who is active in promoting women in sports; yoga and well-being instructor Maya Kramer; cyber security consultant and reserve officer in the Israel Air Force Esther Pinto; and model, TV host and public opinion leader in the Ethiopian community Tahuonia Rubel.