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Growing up, my parents instilled in me the belief that I could achieve any goal that I was called to pursue. I am the youngest of three girls, and my parents were very aware that they were raising women in a world often dominated by men. But rather than letting that intimidate us, they empowered us. Both my father and my mother assured this once-young girl that there was nothing out of reach for me.
Sometimes I wondered why they would keep reinforcing this message. From an early age I had just assumed that both girls and boys could do, and could be, whatever they wanted. It was only when I was older that I observed women weren’t always afforded the same opportunities as men. I then understood that, as a woman, I had to make a special effort to follow their advice, to stand up for myself, and to openly express my concerns and opinions. And I learned too that it was equally important to always do so in a spirit of love and friendship – to build bridges, rather than tear down relationships.
My husband and I have been blessed with four children, two boys and two girls. While we love each of them equally of course, we are well aware that our girls will face unique challenges as they navigate their way through the world. To equip them to be successful and responsible citizens, we look first and foremost to our faith. From Deborah and Miriam, to Jael, Esther, and a host of others, the Bible is filled with stories of women leading and defending their people.
But we also look to the wonderful example set by my parents in raising my sisters and me – and to the values embodied by the society and institutions of the country where we live: Israel.
We feel blessed to be raising our daughters here. Israel has long offered her female citizens – regardless of ethnicity or religion – fundamental freedoms like the right to vote, freedom of speech, equal access to education and the workplace, and no special restrictions on dress. In Israel, women are protected by law from discrimination. In fact, Israel’s Declaration of Independence grants “all Israel’s inhabitants equality of social and political rights irrespective of religion, race, or gender.”
In 1951, three years after declaring statehood, Israel passed legislation guaranteeing women the right to live in dignity by providing equality in work, education, health, and social welfare. According to a policy adopted by Israel’s Ministry of Education, the state’s schools are required to provide equal opportunities for members of both sexes and introduce programs designed to encourage a culture of gender equality. Dozens of women have served in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), and when she was elected in 1969, Prime Minister Golda Meir was Israel’s first and the world’s third female prime minister.
— Beutee (@BeuteeS) March 10, 2021