WIZO works all year long to raise awareness of women's issues, promote discussion and create real change. Intl. Women's Day is an opportunity to raise the discussion another level, place a spotlight on the status of women's issues in Israel, and display WIZO's efforts on behalf of women. To mark and celebrate International Women's Day 2017, WIZO launched several exciting and highly relevant initiatives and events.
Conference: "In the Name of Equality"
This year's annual Intl. Women's Day conference, held on Monday March 6th, organized by WIZO Israel's Division for the Advancement of the Status of Women, addressed the laws and practices in the government and army, which actually preserve or deepen inequality for women. This conference was sponsored by the "New Social Order" program at WIZO's Tel Aviv Branch. After Prof. Rivka Lazovsky, Chairperson of World WIZO and Gila Oshrat, Chairperson of WIZO Israel, gave opening remarks, panel discussions on child custody laws, women in the IDF and post-feminism featured illustrious Israeli leaders like former Education, Communication and Culture Minister Limor Livnat, Rabbi David Stav and more.
"Fighting for Equality" a short film produced by WIZO, told the story of female IDF soldiers who must face discrimination and unique burdens. At the end of the event, a screening of the Oscar-nominated movie "Behind the Numbers" portrayed the untold story of black female scientist in America's early NASA program.
Jerusalem Post Article
Chairperson of World WIZO, Prof. Rivka Lazovsky, in an article released in the Jerusalem Post on the occasion of Intl. Women's Day 2017, saluted the women of WIZO around the world, writing that they "achieve any goal – while remembering that the vision is greater than any one individual. They work from an inner calling, without a desire for power or publicity, without asking for displays of respect, without effort being translated into any reimbursement other than a salary of satisfaction." Prof. Lazovksy cheered the work of WIZO chaverot at the UN and international forums as "a vital part of the State of Israel's foreign diplomatic activity."
Link to the full article: http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Our-women-across-the-sea-483709
Equality Your Way
Another WIZO initiative for International Women's Day 2017 was an artistic project launched in collaboration with the popular G Shopping Mall in the city of Kfar Saba. The exhibition, titled "Equality – Your Way," digital illustrations of influential Israeli women by artist Shahar David Shpielman were displayed and put up for sale, with all proceeds going to WIZO. At the exhibition's opening event, A-list Israeli celebrities, leading businesswomen, models, actresses, mayors and WIZO Israel Chairperson Gila Oshrat all mingled among one another's portraits. At the event, Gila Oshrat stated, "The exhibition which we launch today represents another step in raising awareness to women's equality." The exhibition received great attention from local media outlets in Israel.
The Shame List: The Year's Most Sexist Commercials
For the ninth year in a row, WIZO, with the help of surveys conducted by Globes and Ifat, created and publicized a list of the most sexist and chauvinist commercials in Israel, as chosen by a professional committee of experts on gender and media, academics, journalists and legal experts with the title, "The Shame List." The purpose of the initiative is to raise awareness to gender-bias and negative representation of women and their bodies in media, and to bring about a change in the way women are represented in commercial media.
This year, a commercial produced by Maely's (a cosmetics company), which features female Israeli celebrities physically fighting each other in an orgy of jealously and competitiveness, enforcing negative gender stereotypes relating to women, was chosen as the #1 most sexist commercial of 2016, the past year.
Click to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAjffg4C3p8
Ahead of Intl. Women's Day 2017 WIZO Israel conducted several online surveys in order to gage the Israeli public's opinions on various beliefs and recent events related women's rights and equality. One survey (http://news.walla.co.il/item/3046023) revealed:
- 54% of Israelis believe that there is discrimination against women in society
- 25% of Israelis oppose women serving as combat soldiers
- 60% of Israelis believe that children should remain in a mother's custody after divorce
Despite some troubling finding in the second survey (http://www.mako.co.il/women-magazine/Article-cc27eec04ccaa51006.htm?Partner=makoAppHP) related to equality-related Israeli current events, like the trial of an IDF commander for sexual assault and the early release of convicted sex offender President Moshe Katzav, Gila Oshrat commented, "It's clear that unanimously, internet survey responders support gender equality and almost always come out in support of affected women. In this day & age, it's encouraging to see that a third of the discussion about gender equality is taking place between men."