On July 12, 2012, at the Twentieth NA’AMAT Convention in Israel, Galia Wolloch was proudly installed as the new President of NA’AMAT Israel and President of the World Movement for NA’AMAT (NA’AMAT International). Kicking off a five-year term, the evening was festive beginning for all who attended and was blessed with the presence and participation of the President of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres. Please read below her warm acceptance speech!
To be the President of Na’amat, the largest women movement in Israel, is an important and challenging role, and I intend to serve with confidence and faithfulness.
I believe that Na’amat is the organization for all the women of Israel, and I am committed to serve each one of them, regardless of their religion or demographic background. All women are worthy, and all their voices should be heard.
The State of Israel has always been committed to the value of equality. In the Declaration of the Independence, our leaders committed themselves to carrying out complete social and political equality for all its citizens, without distinction of religion, race, or gender. And so I ask: Is this promise still remembered by those who follow the steps of David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Golda Meir, and Moshe Sharet?
Let me share some statistics with you about the issues we currently struggle with.
- Women earn salaries that are 35% lower than men’s
- Women make up only 19% of Israel’s Members of Parliament
- Women make up only 10% of the government’s ministers
- 70% of Israel’s minimum wage earners are women
- 13% of our university professors are women, despite the fact that women constitute half of the student population earning doctoral degrees
- Thousands of women are denied a GET, in effect, tying them to a marriage they are trying to end
The State has not yet complied with what it promised us at the time of its creation, and we are still waiting for these conditions to improve.
For me, the exclusion of women does not only refer to placing women at the back seat of the bus. Exclusion of women also places them on the back seat of politics, of economic institutions, of the capital market and even on the back seat of society, in general.
Whenever women dare to strive towards higher goals, they are always told that they are dreamers. Nevertheless, all successes, all changes and all revolutions started as dreams. I may be a dreamer, but I am not merely daydreaming; our goals are achievable! I invite you, your daughters, your friends and all other Zionist women to join the journey where we will discover our hidden strengths. We will journey to fulfill our potential and we will journey to fulfill the potential of the State of Israel.
As long as women do not enjoy full equality, the State of Israel will not actually realize its full potential and be the country it must be.
President, Na’amat Israel