Where are all the women leaders?
WOMEN MUST work with communal organisations to secure better representation, a leading group has argued following the inclusion of only one woman in the Jewish Leadership Council’s delegation to Downing Street last week.
The Women in Jewish Leadership group (WJL), which was originally set up by the JLC and is now supported by the Board of Deputies, said it was “once again very disappointed by the poor representation of women” at the meeting.
Union of Jewish Students president Hannah Brady was part of an otherwise all-male team of 12 leaders who held talks with David Cameron.
“It is another illustration of the endemic issue of our community’s lack of women in leadership roles,” a WJL statement said.
According to the Board, WJL is“almost totally funded” by the Board, which supports its “central staff costs, and office space”. The Board had asked the JLC to equally share funding for the projected £25,000 budget last year, but it is understood the JLC rejected the request.
WJL project manager Leah Warren said the JLC had helped run the Envision programme for women leaders through its Lead initiative last year. But she added: “There are no future plans to work with Lead in 2016.”
WJL co-chair Laura Marks called the meeting “the tip of the iceberg”.
Disquiet about the lack of women in the delegation had already been voiced by senior male figures at the meeting.
Writing on Facebook after the incident, Ms Brady thanked the JLC for including her but said the episode highlighted that “there is a problem”. She listed at least 10 prominent women in the community who she said could have attended the meeting.
The JLC said members of the delegation to meet Mr Cameron had been chosen as the most relevant people to discuss the issues on the agenda.
However, a spokesman said: “Women are still under represented within Jewish communal leadership.
“The JLC intends to continue its support to ensure women are properly and appropriately represented at leadership level. We hope that this work will result in the gender gap closing within the Jewish community in the near future.”
In a letter to the JC, Debbie Fox and Ruth Green, two of the JLC’s trustees, wrote: “We were immensely proud of Hannah Brady’s contribution to the meeting… she was nobody’s token.”
The Board of Deputies said it would raise gender imbalance on communal panels during its constitutional review.