The time has come to stop using chauvinist language in the press. It’s legitimate to criticize female politicians – but only on equal grounds with their male counterparts.
The situation of women and feminism in Israeli politics is full of contradictions. It seems to be getting better all the time, yet there is plenty of room for improvement, particularly in the language we use to describe women in positions of power.
A woman, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, is at the head of our peace talks staff, a job that could impact the future of everyone between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and even beyond, but she’s always the only woman in the negotiating room, though that mostly is not Israel’s fault. Three lists in the Knesset are led by women – Livni’s Hatnua, opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich in Labor and Zehava Gal-On in Meretz – but the same number of parties refuses to have female representatives. There are more female MKs than ever before – 27 – but that’s only 22.5 percent of parliamentary seats, as opposed to 50% of the population. And, of course, we had a female prime minister, but that was 40 years ago.
Perhaps the foremost contradiction is that females have held many of the most senior government positions, but are unable to escape condescension and derogatory language from men. Continue Reading