Shake-up in women's role

By Jessica Elgot, March 29, 2012
Laura Marks

Laura Marks

Change is needed to shake up Jewish organisations which court their potential board members on the golf course, to allow women better access to lay leadership.

That was the audience consensus at open meetings organised by the Commission on Women in Jewish Leadership. Around 150 people attended the meetings in London and Manchester.

Mitzvah Day founder Laura Marks, who is heading the commission for the JLC, said that many people in the Manchester meeting had commented that in the regions, women were more likely to step up into senior leadership roles - to combat young people leaving for London.

But members of both audiences differed when it came to how to implement practical change.

A number of contributors in London said they were concerned that halachah was often used an excuse to exempt women from significant roles, and urged support from rabbis.

In Manchester, Danielle Grant, who directs a professional corporate leadership firm, suggested an online portal for women who were seeking to get involved in the community.

Ms Marks said she was "delighted that so many awe-inspiring women and men turned out to make their voices heard."

Last updated: 1:31pm, March 29 2012