Improved status of women a WIZO priority
Earlier this month, as a counter-offensive to the annual Israel Apartheid Week, WIZO women in Johannesburg and Cape Town participated in a solidarity rally with Israel. This anti-Semitism and anti-racism rally by Jewish community members, was joined by Israel’s Christian friends as well as those of other faiths.
Purim celebrated the strength and courage of Queen Esther, but we know hundreds of women who, without a royal title, show the same fortitude and resilience at home and in the workplace. In every Jewish household and every WIZO household there is a queen devoting her time to uplifting herself, her family and her community.
We are so fortunate to live in a democracy where the most liberal Constitution in the world celebrates its diverse culture, open society and guaranteed civil and political liberties for all citizens, regardless of race, religion, gender or creed.
Often we take for granted the simplest rights and values that in so many countries women have to fight for on a daily basis. WIZO supports Human Rights Day in South Africa, March 21, the day on which we remember those who perished in the long struggle to attain democracy and human dignity for all South Africans.
Likewise, Israel shines as a beacon of freedom and hope in the Middle East and women are very much a part of the fabric of Israeli society, unlike their counterparts in surrounding countries. We should remember trailblazers like former Prime Minster Golda Meir or Alice Miller, a civilian pilot and aeronautical engineer who successfully petitioned the High Court of Justice to take the Israeli Air Force pilot training exams after being rejected on the basis of gender. She was originally from South Africa.
However, gaps in salaries and positions of authority in civil, governmental and religious spaces still exist and the proverbial glass ceiling that keeps women in Israel from attaining their full potential, is something WIZO works tirelessly to crack open. We do this through a variety of programmes that includes empowerment courses and leadership skills training, through activism and even having a permanent lobbyist in the Knesset.
Improving the status of women is an important part of the WIZO charter and has taken its rightful place among our many, many other projects.