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Increasing women's workplace participation: what works where?

Opening Remarks

The Adva Center has been working on gender-sensitive budgeting for more than a decade. Its work focuses on two main areas. One is advocacy work vis-a-vis government ministries and Knesset committees, and the other is awareness-raising activities designed for the general public. This national, annual conference is part of the latter. Each year, the conference focuses on a different aspect of gender budgeting. Thus, for example, the first dealt with the connection between gender and the national budget. The second conference looked at budgets from an international perspective and analyzed, among other things, the implications of international trade agreements for different social groups. The last conference dealt with the connections between women's employment and privatization. It should be mentioned that the proceedings of these conferences, beginning with the fourth, can be found on the Adva Center website. Other reports relevant to gender-sensitive budgeting, like the report written by Yael Hasson on the welfare reform program, is also hosted on the Adva Center website.

To increase the effectiveness of this work and to join forces with other organizations, the Women's Budget Forum was established four years ago. The Forum is a collation of women from 30 different women's and civil rights groups.

Our first thanks are to the Heinrich Boell Foundation for providing support for the conference, as well as for ongoing support of the Adva Center. We would also like to thank The New Israel Fund for its long-term support of Adva. A special thanks to the staff of the Adva Center who produced this conference, especially Nelly Markman and Mira AsseoOppenheim. We would also like to thank our guest from Canada, Professor Kathleen Lahey, and the participants attending the conference.

Opening Remarks

Mr. Jorn Bohme Director, Israel Office, Heinrich Boll Foundation

Thank you for giving me the honor once again to open the Annual Adva Center Conference on Budgets and Gender. My name is Jorn Bohme and I am the Director of the Israel office of the Heinrich Boll Foundation in Tel Aviv.

This is the Seventh Annual Adva Center Conference on Budgets and Gender and it is the sixth time that the Boll Foundation supported the conference.

The Heinrich Boll Foundation is the German foundation that is affiliated with the Green party. It is named after the German writer Heinrich Boll. Boll, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1972 and died in 1985, was one of the most famous writers of post-war Germany. Boll once said, "Meddling is the only way to stay relevant." And he himself lived up to this very much, playing an active role in dealing critically with German history, being active in the peace and ecology movements and campaigning for civil rights in Germany as well as internationally.

The office of the Heinrich Boll Foundation in Israel just celebrated the 10th anniversary of its opening this past week. In Israel, the foundation works mainly in the fields of environmental justice and sustainability, strengthening civil society and democratic participation, IsraeliGerman and Israeli-EU relations, and women's rights and gender democracy.

The conference this year takes place in a very special context: not even a week after the elections in the USA, one day before the municipal elections in Israel and exactly three months before the next Knesset elections. Now, everyone probably knows the famous quote from Jewish anarchist Emma Goldman that if voting changed anything, they would make it illegal. However, maybe last week showed that while this outlook is a tool for ceasing to critically analyze reality, the outlook is too simple to be a guideline for programmatic and realistic policies. The results of tomorrow's municipal elections will show to what extent social change organizations in Israel succeeded in placing the issues of gender, environment, and society on the municipal agenda. And the elections in February, together with the changing international context, will show if there are new opportunities to really deal with the burden of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and therefore open a new space for confronting gender inequality in Israeli society.

I wish you a successful conference with many new insights.
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Title Annotation:Adva Center Conference on Budgets and Gender
Author:Berkovitch, Nitza
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Nov 1, 2008
Next Article:Strengthening women's employment through infrastructure development.

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