“Disappointment” from female leaders at lack of representation
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“Disappointment” from female leaders at lack of representation

Female leaders within the Jewish community have expressed “disappointment” at the lack of female representation at Downing Street this week, during the community’s annual meeting with the prime minister.

Facing David Cameron were ten men from organisations such as the Jewish Leadership Council, the Board of Deputies, Jewish Care, World Jewish Relief, United Synagogue and BICOM. Student leader Hannah Brady, who will shortly be replaced by a man, was the lone female representative.

UJS president Hannah Brady outside number 10 Downing Street

“We are once again very disappointed by the poor representation of women at this week’s meeting,” said a spokeswoman for Women in Jewish Leadership (WJL). It is another illustration of the endemic issue of our community’s lack of women in leadership roles.”

WJL co-chair Laura Marks added: “The meeting at Downing Street is the tip of the iceberg. We need to ensure that the diversity of our community is represented to government and to the outside world, as well as within our own community.” 

A JLC spokesperson said: “The representatives of the JLC who attend the meeting with the Prime Minister are chosen as the most relevant members of the JLC to present on the particular issues we feel it is important to raise. 

Despite the fantastic work of the Commission on Women in Jewish Leadership, women are still under represented within the Jewish communal leadership. The JLC intends to continue its support for this project 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 future.”

Several senior female leaders hold positions in the Jewish community, including the chief executives of the Board of Deputies, the Holocaust Educational Trust and Interlink Foundation, which represents the Charedi sector, and the senior rabbi of the Movement for Reform Judaism. 

In 2015, at the corresponding event, Hannah Brady’s predecessor Ella Rose, ex-UJS president, was the only female representative

Those who met Cameron included the JLC’s Sir Mick Davis, Simon Johnson, Jonathan Goldstein and David Chinn, together with the Board’s Jonathan Arkush, Jewish Care’s Steven Lewis, James Libson from World Jewish Relief, Edward Misrahi from BICOM, the United Synagogue’s Stephen Pack, the CST’s Gerald Ronson and Reform chair Robert Weiner.

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