Independent

Indy op-ed errs on Israeli women’s political representation


A March 14th Independent op-ed by Elana Maryles Sztokman, leader of the Israeli women’s party, Kol Hanashim (Voices of Women), titled “The sad lesson I learned when I ran for Israeli parliament”, included the following claim, in the context of lamenting her party’s failure to gain any Knesset seats in the recent election.

We thought we could capitalize on discontent with the system and channel a message of new leadership. After all, the number of women parliamentarians is decreasing, the sole female prime minister was elected in 1969, and not a single woman participated in any of the failed coalition negotiations.

Her claim that “the number of women parliamentarians is decreasing” is not true.

The March 2nd elections actually saw a record number of women (30) winning seats to the Knesset. This represents 25% of the total seats, which is actually a higher percentage of female legislators than in the US and in several EU member states. Moreover, there has been a steady and nearly uninterrupted increase in the number of female MK’s since the 1970s.

Additionally, the writer complains that Israel’s “sole female prime minister [Gold Meir] was elected in 1969”. Yet, through 2018, more than 100 countries had never had a woman at the top job. They include Spain, Japan, The Netherlands, Belgium, and the US.  In fact, in 1969, the year Meir became prime minister, she was one of only two female leaders in the world.

Prime Minister Golda Meir. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

We’ve complained to Indy editors over the erroneous claim over the number of female MKs.

(Editor’s note: We wish to clarify that, during a previous government, the number of women MKs was significantly higher than 30.  However, this was due to multiple male MKs resigning.  Our point is that this past election saw the highest number of female MKs elected.)

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