Almost 100 women to take up positions in city councils
But still comprise only one-sixth of council members
It’s not only in the US that recent elections have seen more women win positions of power. Local elections held last week placed nearly 100 more women in city councils across the country compared to the last elections, according to preliminary data gathered by the Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women.
In the municipal elections of 2018, 426 female council members were elected, compared with 327 in the elections of 2013.
Despite the increased number of female winners, it is only slight – from 13.5% in 2013 to 16.6% today – and is due to a general increase in the number of council members throughout the country.
In Pardesiya, Lehavim, Har Adar and Alfei Menashe there are five councilmen and four councilwomen on each board.
Beersheba and Tel Aviv hold the record with 10 councilwomen each, out of 27 and 31, respectively.
But in 68 municipalities, not a single woman will serve on a council, including Bnei Brak, Umm El-Fahm, Elad, Beitar Illit, Hatzor Haglilit, Yavne’el, Yesud HaMa’ala, Tira, Modi’in Illit, Sakhnin, Immanuel, Rahat and Shfaram.
In another 23 municipalities, only one female council member will serve, including Yavne, Or Akiva, Safed, Kiryat
Malachi, Kiryat Arba, Netivot and Beit She’an.
In the Arab sector, 19 women were elected, 9 more than in 2013. These include Nazareth, Ibillin, Jadida Makar, Jish, Deir al-Asad, Deir Hanna, Tamra, Ka’abiyye-Tabbash-Hajajre, Kafr Kanna, Majd al-Kurum, Majdal Shams, Maghar, Usfiya, Arrabe, Rameh, Haifa and Lod.
Minister of Social Equality Gila Gamliel said: “First and foremost, I want to wish the 426 elected councilwomen good luck. You represent not only the public that chose you but all the women in Israel. Even in the political reality of 2018, women suffer discriminatory treatment, sexist comments, suspicions and prejudices. We can change reality. You are local ambassadors of a broad international movement and I urge you to incorporate in your public activities the personal responsibility to promote gender equality, to encourage other women to join the public arena and to support municipal actions that promote women. Your success is our success.”
Director of the Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women Eva Madjiboj remarked: “An increase of 100 public figures is important news, together with eleven elected heads of local authorities and six who are running next week in the second round. This week, a door was opened for 426 women to continue advancing in the public arena and to establish a foundation for the next elections,” she said.
At the same time, we must also examine the question of representation that remains poor and unequal,” she noted. “Less than 17% represent a population of 51%. We must continue to act to increase proportional representation and promote gender equality. I call on party leaders all over the country in which the next in line on the list is a woman to have a rotation during their term to allow more women to serve on the city council and increase their chances of being elected next time. That’s the right thing to do.” •