Ella Rose: I’m the to­ken woman

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY ROSA DO­HERTY

THE JEWISH com­mu­nity lags be­hind when it comes to rep­re­sent­ing women, ac­cord­ing to Ella Rose, the direc­tor of the Jewish Labour Move­ment.

Ms Rose said she of­ten felt used as a “to­ken” woman at events and in photo op­por­tu­ni­ties.

In an in­ter­view with the JC, the former Union of Jewish Stu­dents pres­i­dent said: “I firmly be­lieve the com­mu­nity is 20 years be­hind the rest of the world when it comes to fem­i­nism.”

Ms Rose said she had been ap­proached by a com­mu­nal leader dur­ing her ini­tial days as UJS head and told she would get “dou­ble the op­por­tu­ni­ties” of her male pre­de­ces­sor, sim­ply be­cause she was a woman.

She said:

“It re­ally irked me, and still to this day I get calls say­ing

‘we need a woman on this panel’, or ‘we need a woman’s voice on this’, or ‘Ella, you’re a woman, get in this photo’.”

Ms Rose praised ini­tia­tives such as the Jewish Lead­er­ship Coun­cil’s Women in Jewish Lead­er­ship pro­gramme, but said “there is so much more we need to do”.

But she was crit­i­cal of the JLC’s an­nual visit to meet the prime min­is­ter for talks in Down­ing Street, an event which has reg­u­larly been at­tacked for un­der­rep­re­sent­ing women in the com­mu­nity.

In 2016, only one woman, Han­nah Brady, was part of an other­wise all-male team of 12 lead­ers who held talks with David Cameron.

Four se­nior male mem­bers of the del­e­ga­tion suc­ces­sively ap­proached an ac­com­pa­ny­ing fe­male reporter to ask if she was Ms Brady, re­veal­ing they could not iden­tify their fe­male col­league.

Ms Rose’s com­ments come as the JLC’s elec­tion for its next chair is set to be con­tested by two men.

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