Printer Friendly

Ladies, your country needs you/Orna Ophir (Translated from Ma'ariv daily Newspaper, Nov 2002).

Occasionally it appears to us as though the gender equality revolution, or the feminist revolution, has achieved its objectives and that today it is possible to criticize it or alternatively to sit back and enjoy its fruits. News of such equal rights has not yet reached many women in the country; these women continue to live as second rate citizens in our society, dominated if they're lucky, voiceless and helpless if they are not.

So writes Leora Bilsky in her article titled "Violence of the mute", which appears in her recently published book "The voice and the look" (Resling publishing), and demonstrates with a rape victim's court testimony how the voice of women is silenced by men and empowered by other women: "Seeing as women in western culture are identified with a voice, we would expect to find a variety of voices in the public debate, but paradoxically precisely those who are identified with a voice, their voice is missing from the public sphere".

How can women strengthen themselves, empower others and influence those whose voice is not heard? The answer is by community involvement.

Ifat Ovitz-Lahavy, a 27 year old lawyer from Tel Aviv took part in a women's leadership course hoping to make a difference: "I volunteered in the Israel Women's Network and found myself surrounded by successful women with a lot of motivation. I am acquiring tools with which I will be able to influence my near surroundings: friends and work colleagues in the legal field, and hope that in the future, with the help of my legal knowledge, I will bring about judgments and precedents marking a broad shift in society". The IWN acts to widen the circle of women who are aware of the need for change and are willing to be active in the periphery and groups with special needs. IWN hopes to arouse the awareness of women's power also in the populations where feminist awareness is undeveloped, in the belief that a large number of women can take part in different levels of government--from neighborhood committees through local councils to the Knesset and government.

Women do not have to be "manly" in order to become leaders. From meetings of the networks' activities with women from varied sectors of the population it becomes apparent that women's views, much like their natural working methods, are different than those of men. Women tend to look for a consensus, avoid confrontations, cooperate and work with no particular hierarchy. Such traits are in no way inferior in their efficiency to those of male leaders.

IWN's leadership courses are aimed at empowering women. Hiki Haviv, Director of leadership development programs at the Israel Women's Network, explains: "Empowerment is a process in which one person strengthens another person while not detracting from their own strength and maybe even increasing it".

The coming year's courses initiated by the IWN are characterized by broad and varied activities aimed at advancing women's leadership. IWN has established and is continuing to establish leadership courses around the country--Tiberias, Kfar Tavor, Kiryat Gat and Eilat, a course in the center of the country and a number of courses in the Arab sector.

The young leadership courses, run throughout the country, are intended for women between the ages of 25-40 who want to bring about social and personal change. The course is 3 months long, and combines theoretical studies with practical workshops to help the women exercise their skills.
COPYRIGHT 2003 Israel Women's Network
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Networking for Women
Date:Oct 1, 2003
Previous Article:IWN case sets precedent verdict.
Next Article:New project "Eshet Chail".

Related Articles
The Empire Strikes Again.
Some female birds prefer losers. (Quails).
China Life initial public offering reaches $3.5 billion level.
Advice for the love & struck: think dating and the flood of emotions that come with courtship are reserved for humans? Think again. Science World's...
Eleanor Roosevelt: once, the U.S. President's wife was expected to be a silent partner. Eleanor Roosevelt changed that rule forever.
New life for old floors: alternative materials add character to home designs.
Faithful voles have hidden infidelities.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters