The number of women serving as trustees of Jewish charities has risen in the past year, but remains below the national average.
A survey timed to coincide with International Women’s Day revealed that under 32 per cent of trustees at the community’s 80 biggest charities were women — an increase from 29 per cent last year. The national average is 36 per cent.
Only nine of the charities’ boards had a majority of female trustees. Jewish Women’s Aid was the only organisation with an all-female board, while 16 of the charities had all-male boards.
Another 14 charities had only one female trustee each. Emunah, which supports children at risk in Israel, was the only group which had one male trustee on an otherwise all-female board.
The figures were compiled by Ben Crowne, a forensic accountant and author of a series of articles looking at Jewish charities.
He researched details of the trustees at dozens of Jewish and pro-Israel charities with incomes of more than £1 million a year, as well as charities which come under the Jewish Leadership Council’s umbrella, for the statistics.
Mr Crowne found that 83 per cent of the charities had boards with male majorities, while just 11 per cent had female majorities. He calculated that there are fewer women trustees at the larger charities. Of the ten organisations with the largest incomes, only one had a majority of female trustees. Only 28 per cent of trustees at these top ten charities were women.
Of the JLC’s council of membership — the charity’s top body which meets quarterly “to discuss the strategic issues that affect the Jewish community in the UK” — five of the 34 members were women. Five of the JLC’s 17 vice-presidents are women.
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As part of its work around IWD, the JLC has been profiling leading women from the community and highlighting work carried out by its members on behalf of women.
A national analysis of British charities carried out by the Cass Business School with involvement from the Charity Commission and the government last November found that across the country, 36 per cent of trustees are women.
Mr Crowne said: “Women remain systemically under-represented in leadership positions across our community.
“Charities should be representative of the community they support; but at the current rate of progress, charity boards won’t be gender-balanced until 2030.”