Few Israeli women see selves as feminists [pg. 5]

Only 17 percent of Israeli women consider themselves feminists, according to data collected by the New Family - an organization devoted to the advancement of family rights - ahead of International Women's Day, which is being marked Wednesday. The survey, which questioned both men and women in more than 500 Israeli Jewish families, asked the women if they considered themselves feminists. Of those questioned, 40% said they would not define themselves as a feminist while 43% said that while they did not define themselves as feminists they were open to feminist ideas. "The results are very disappointing," said Irit Rosenblum, chairwoman of New Family, adding that it shows "Israel is still a very chauvinist country." The data also showed that Israeli women are three times more likely than men to give up their careers to raise children. While 42% of women complained that most of the household burdens fell on to their shoulders, 38% of the men questioned in the survey felt that household work was shared evenly with their spouse or partner. "Because Israel is in a continuous state of war, [with men having to do reserve army duty even after their compulsory military service] the status of men is always considered more important than the status of women," said Rosenblum. "Women have been brainwashed to believe that this is the only important issue on today's agenda. "There are so many female politicians but most of them do not make women's issues a priority. If women themselves are not interested in fighting to improve their status, then why should men?" Yanna Kanopova, coordinator of the Women's Coalition for Peace said, however, that the survey results were misleading and that most people in Israel do care about improving the conditions of women in society. She said if the survey questions had asked specifically whether women should have equal rights to men or whether they should be treated more fairly in society the results would have been more positive.