Enoughisenough—weshould­be­cen­trestage

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY HAN­NAH BRADY

FIVE YEARS ago I de­cided to study in Lon­don, and the choice took me di­rectly to the heart of the An­glo-Jewish bub­ble. Be­tween now and then, I’ve cher­ished the op­por­tu­ni­ties that be­ing an ac­tive mem­ber and leader of this com­mu­nity has of­fered me.

Of course, that in­cludes a speak­ing role in last week’s com­mu­nal del­e­ga­tion to meet the Prime Min­is­ter.

Fol­low­ing the rush of speak­ing di­rectly to David Cameron, I didn’t ex­pect to find my­self at the cen­tre of a political row.

It’s been a rather over­whelm­ing week, yet strangely, be­ing ques­tioned by the coun­try’s elected leader has turned out to be the least pres­sure of the en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence.

Nev­er­the­less, I’m thor­oughly grati- fied that it’s the is­sue of gen­der equal­ity and the vis­i­bil­ity of women in the Jewish com­mu­nity that has pro­voked such broad con­ver­sa­tions.

Ev­ery­one agrees that only one woman in a room of Jewish lead­ers is not how com­mu­nal del­e­ga­tions to meet our na­tional lead­ers should look. How­ever, there’s a dif­fer­ence in opin­ion around how we go about chang­ing that re­al­ity.

I’m frus­trated that some sug­gested at­tempts to cre­ate gen­der bal­ance are to­kenis­tic, that giv­ing women roles and plat­forms un­der­mines fe­male abil­ity and starves the male lead­er­ship who have worked so hard for the op­por­tu­nity to get around the ta­ble too.

Sorry, but I’m afraid I have to call your bluff.

It’s not to­kenis­tic to in­sist that women de­serve — and are still lack­ing — equal ac­cess to th­ese op­por­tu­ni­ties. That im­plies that women need to “do bet­ter”, rather than ex­pect com­mu­nal lead­ers to ac­cept re­spon­si­bil­ity for em­brac­ing gen­der equal­ity.

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