Speakers including Shakira Martin, the president-elect of the National Union of Students, last night celebrated the achievements of Women in Jewish Leadership (WJL) – the project founded to address gender equality issues in the community.
Shakira Martin told the audience at the event in central London that “by coming together, women of ethnic minorities can smash the glass ceiling”. She added that during her presidency she would be providing support for Jewish students on campus.
Board of Deputies Chief Executive Gillian Merron praised the contribution of Women in Jewish Leadership Co-Chair Laura Marks. She said: “Laura, thank you for everything you’ve done. You have truly blazed a trail for women in the Jewish community.”
Gillian added: “Over a short period of time, all of you – staff and volunteers alike – have secured changes and growing levels of communal awareness concerning gender equality within our communal institutions. Organisations, which, it has to be said, have often leant towards more conservative attitudes.”
Laura Marks said: “We have moved a long way in six years, with the help of an army of talented people. But an issue which has existed for millennia can’t be solved in one generation. The challenge for The Board of Deputies, communal organisations, The Association of Jewish Women’s Organisations and everyone in our community, is to really think about equality and how we can all play a role in driving change.”
Since it was founded in 2012, Women in Jewish Leadership has launched the groundbreaking Gender Equality Plan to promote the role of women in the Jewish communal organisations and worked tirelessly to promote women’s advancement. The work of WJL will be passing over to the Board of Deputies.
Photo: (left to right) Board of Deputies Chief Executive Gillian Merron, WJL Co-Chair Norma Brier, NUS President Elect Shakira Martin and WJL Co-Chair Laura Marks