Women’s groups demand more female ministers as Knesset marks International Women’s Day

The Knesset marked International Women’s Day on Thursday, as dozens of women’s rights activists held a demonstration nearby during which they called on Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu to appoint more female ministers.

“(Foreign Minister) Tzipi Livni is expected to be the only female cabinet member in the next coalition; this will take the struggle for equal representation of women in politics 10 years back, to the previous Netanyahu government,” one of the activists said.

“It’s sad to find out that despite the promises that were made there will only be one woman in the next cabinet.”

During the session itself, Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik said the number of female lawmakers was “far from being sufficient.”

Livni, for her part, told the session that to her being a woman meant “having the right to choose. This right seems natural to any man, but some women still cannot take it for granted.

“A woman should be allowed to choose what to do with her life: Whether to stay single or get married; whether she wants to become a mother or whether she wants to go out and work,” she said.

“To all the women who believe their husbands are beating them because they’ve done something wrong, I say: The problem does not lie with you, it lies with those who discriminate against you; it lies with the beating husband and the sexual abuser.”

Livni said she was unimpressed with the record number of female legislators in the current Knesset (21). “This is an embarrassing figure. We make up 50% of the population, so this is still far from equal representation,” she said.


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