Israeli LGBTQ Task Force Chair: Support Our Women

Chen Arieli, Chair of the Aguda Israeli LGBTQ Task Force reflects on how we can support women to enter positions of power.

Chen Arieli marching in Kiev Pride

“I have just finished two weeks of meetings in the United States [with the A Wider Bridge Tour]. From coast to coast and then some. A lot of flights, communities, organizations and places. Wherever I was, almost every table I sat in were mostly men.”

I can’t explain to you how lonely it feels. I cannot fully describe the extent to which I get tense in every such meeting because I start off in a different position than everyone else around the table.

I’m sure that if you read this and you’re a woman in a key position, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

We think it’s not like that anymore because we’ve made progress, because society has progressed. But in reality, yet, most of the positions of power are held by men. And so in most places I visited on my recent trip to America.

I understand every one of us who chooses to get out of the “kitchen” in order not to “take the heat”.

I understand it from the bottom of my heart. It’s really hot in there. It’s really hard.

And many times it’s not very rewarding, it feels lonely, wounding, lacks support and sympathy.

But take it from someone who’s in this “kitchen”…

Every time I do meet another woman around the meeting table it’s a fresh breeze in that heat. You know.

It immediately makes me better, too.

Why? Because all of a sudden I become equal. Visible. I Exist.

Even if the woman next to me has views that are very different than mine, and throughout the entire meeting we argue – her very existence in the world, our presence, makes the world a better place. I swear it does.

So look around you, support any woman who takes a stand, offer help, think about taking a position yourself, encourage other women to do so. Be in solidarity with other women because we pay a heavy personal price. Give a constructive criticism and not a blaming one, join the action.

And if you are in a key position, show respect to the sisters you meet on the way. Get in touch. Help each other.

We have no choice, we must change the world, and it will only happen if we take the positions of power ourselves and work from them together.