All my life I dreamed of attending a seminar or conference on women’s rights and empowerment at the prestigious European Union building in Brussels. WIZO made that dream come true.
Now that I live in Belgium, and as an AVIV representative, I had the honour of attending the WIZO Belgium -Luxembourg International Women’s Day Conference in Brussels at the European Union Parliament on the 15th of March 2019 as part of the WIZO Antwerp delegation.
The theme of the event was ‘Success as a Woman’.
Varda Cywie, President WIZO Belgium - Luxemburg and her committee, organized the event. Over 70 women attended the event from all social and cultural circles of Belgium, including a fascinating panel of women of success, including World WIZO Chairperson Prof. Rivka Lazovsky. Other WIZO leaders joined us from our European federations, including Ronit Ribak Madari - Chairperson of WIZO UK, Diana Paola Lévy - President of WIZO France, and Nicole Faktor - President of WIZO Germany.
World WIZO Chairperson Prof. Rivka Lazovsky (far right) with the WIZO Representatives at the European Parliament
I was deeply moved by the topics of the day, especially as a young woman trying to balance life in all aspects of being a woman, in what is currently mostly ‘a man’s world.’
Some of the highlights were, meeting the lovely WIZO women and representatives from various EU and the UK federations. The atmosphere was warm, friendly and supportive, with a deep sense of sisterhood.
Most important were the messages that came through during the panel discussions.
As an AVIV, I took the following points away from the overall theme of ‘success as a woman’:
1. To keep sight of the WIZO vision, agenda and mission, and as a WIZO AVIV to be aware at all times of the reasons we do what we do. The vision, agenda, and mission, guide us in all our WIZO AVIV endeavors. Namely fundraising, education, lobbying, legislation, legal aid, women’s rights, social care, social development, gender-based violence support, prevention, treatment and care for victims and perpetrators; and in general, improved broader social development for Israel.
2. We discussed being a successful woman in a ‘mans world’, and that it can be achieved through resilience, perseverance and the correct balance and support within the workplace and home environments.
3. Psychologically, success as a woman was examined. What was clear from the discussion was that a woman’s awareness, sense of connection, self-care and balance between professional and home life is subjective and is driven by what motivates us as individual women.
4. Women of all ages, especially during our reproductive years, can be mothers and professionals when we choose to challenge the status quo and existing gender biases in the professional and home settings
We all learned a huge amount and the day ended with new connections having been made and ideas being exchanged. It was a wonderful event!
I would like to thank Varda Cywie, President WIZO Belgium - Luxemburg, as well as Nathalie Miodownik, President of WIZO Antwerp for taking me under their wing.
Marië Joshua-Querido (right) with WIZO Antwerp President Nathalie Miodownik
WIZO Belgium-Luxembourg AVIV