University gender split 'is like racial segregation laws', US Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says

She was in Israel to receive the Genesis Lifetime Achievement Award


The exclusion of women in Israeli society has strong parallels to racial discrimination in the United States, one of America’s most senior judges has said.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made the comparison during a visit to Israel over the weekend, where she was awarded the Genesis Lifetime Achievement Award in Tel Aviv.

She was responding to a question about gender segregation rules at Israeli colleges and university during a meeting with women’s groups at the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

Ms Ginsburg said the Israeli rules were a reminder of a time when there were separate schools for African Americans under the notion of “separate but equal”, Haaretz reported.

Supporters of the Israeli rules say they are designed to ensure Strictly Orthodox people can participate in higher education but Justice Ginsburg said this was not a problem in the United States, where Strictly Orthodox Jews studied without gender segregation.

The nature of the problem would be different if the Reform Judaism movements carried greater influence in Israel, she added.

“The latest Global Gender Gap Report, published by the World Economic Forum, ranked Israel as 44th out of 144 countries, denoting a position nine places lower than a decade ago,” said Genesis Prize Foundation chairman Stan Polovets.

“Such a low ranking for such a progressive country as Israel is unacceptable — as is the trend.”

Ms Ginsburg held meetings with more than 50 leaders of Jewish and Arab women’s organisations during her time in Israel, which she was visiting to accept the Genesis Prize.

At the awards ceremony last week, Ms Ginsburg said that she was “a judge, born, raised, and proud of being a Jew.”

“The demand for justice, for peace and for enlightenment runs through the entirety of Jewish history and Jewish tradition.”

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