Monday, March 09, 2009

One Female Minister

Yesterday was International Women's Day, so it's a good opportunity to take a look at women in our government. The outgoing Knesset saw the first female speaker, and the incoming Knesset has more women than ever before (21 out of 120 - 17.5%). The next head of the opposition will be a woman - Tzippi Livni.

The judicial branch is headed by a woman, Chief Justice Dorit Beinish. The Supreme Court's permanent membership is made up of five women and seven men, plus two male justices on temporary appointments.

The executive branch is the most problematic. Though Tzippi Livni was close to becoming Israel's second female prime minister after Golda Meir, our next government will probably have only one female cabinet minister or two at the most. The Likud will appoint Limor Livnat, while Yisrael Beitenu might appoint Sofa Landver. However, the other coalition partners are likely to be religious parties with no female Knesset members, so they will not appoint female ministers.

What I don't understand is why the Likud will only have one female minister. Why isn't Leah Ness, who won a higher position than Limor Livnat in the primaries, getting a seat in the cabinet? Netanyahu can also bring in experienced women who are not parliament members if he doesn't like the women in the Likud's caucus.

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