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The female power of the local councils in Israel: only 55 female directors general in local government - voila! local


Highlights: Out of 256 municipalities in Israel, 20% of them elected a woman CEO. Only 14 women were elected mayors and councillors. There are still zero female directors in government offices. The conference of the Association of CEOs and Secretaries in Local Authorities is taking place on June 4-7 in Eilat. We met for a personal interview with leading CEOs from cities and towns in Israel. The more diverse the decision-making table, the better decisions are made, says Dafna Kiro Cohen, CEO of Ness Ziona Municipality.

Out of 256 municipalities in Israel, 20% of them elected a woman CEO. Only 14 women were elected mayors and councillors. There are still zero female directors in government offices

They are at the forefront of municipal activity, usually behind the scenes, but include huge projects and very large budgets. They are at the main decision-making junctures in cities and towns in Israel, managing dozens and even hundreds of employees.

These are the CEOs of cities and councils in Israel, 55 women who see municipal work as a mission, and send a message to women, ahead of the upcoming election campaign, now is your time to join and influence the agenda of your city.

As part of the "Heart of Action in Local Authorities" conference at the Queen of Sheba Hotel in Eilat. The conference of the Association of CEOs and Secretaries in Local Authorities, chaired by Doron Milberg, Chairman of the Association and CEO of the Rishon LeZion Municipality, is taking place on June 4-7 and will feature the directors general of government ministries, senior officials and members of the media. The conference deals with the professional issues on the agenda of CEOs and CEOs in local and regional government.

We met for a personal interview with leading CEOs from cities and towns in Israel.

CEOs of councils in Israel (Photo: Image processing, Photo: Oz Shechter, Noel Dabur, Rama Shefi Yazma)

Dafna Kiro Cohen - CEO of the Ness Ziona Municipality

46 years old, married +3, Advocate. About 10 years CEO in local authorities - from 2013 CEO of the Brenner Regional Council and from 2019 CEO of the Ness Ziona Municipality. Former legal advisor to the Movement for Quality Government in Israel

"The current term has been very challenging and complex. Apart from the usual challenges related to the management of a local authority, we have dealt with a number of crises – some of them national – but their management and leadership have been placed on the shoulders of the local authority. This was the case during the COVID-3 crisis, when local authorities became the spearhead of managing the national crisis and were required to provide public health solutions; in the security crises and their expansion into central and lowland areas that were not accustomed to managing the situation, including opening public shelters and managing emergency routines; And so in Ness Ziona was the flood crisis. In recent years, the global climate crisis has led to a dramatic increase in extreme climatic situations – huge amounts of rain that fall in a short period of time cause the collapse of urban drainage systems and cause urban flooding. And so, in the 2022 years that have passed since we built an urban model for flood prevention, for this innovative model, Ness Ziona won the Local Government Center Innovation Award for 20, and has become a model for many cities on the subject."

What do you think about the low number of women in local government?

"There is no doubt that the more diverse the decision-making table, the better decisions are made – at the crossroads of decision-making, research proves that ethnic, cultural, and gender diversity gives us a more complete solution that sees the various aspects of the problem in the long term. As a result, the decisions made from a diverse table will be good and adapted to wider segments of the population. This is true in general, but especially for local authorities, for which a significant part of the service they are entrusted with is formal and informal education, concerning the children in the city, issues for which most women at home take responsibility. Therefore, it is precisely women in senior management positions in local authorities who can bring from their world and put at the top of the authority's agenda the issues relevant to the authority's main service consumers.

At the same time, there are currently about 80% of women CEOs in local authorities. Of all employees of local authorities, 50% are women. Although there has been an upward trend in the number of women in senior management positions in local authorities in recent years, we are still far from 50-<>. But for me, the question is not just what barriers women face, but what barriers we women put up for ourselves."

Dafna Kiro Cohen - Ness Ziona (Photo: official website, photo: Ness Ziona Spokesperson's Office)

Personal experience as a woman in a men's environment?

"In the Israeli reality, there is a tendency to associate military experience with the ability to manage civilian systems. And then when a woman arrives, who was an education officer but without too many ranks on her shoulders or glorious military experience – and she is required, for example, to be an emergency chief of staff, the environment examines her ability with suspicion. I remember a specific emergency exercise that the head of the council could not attend, and I conducted it all at a table full of military personnel, not to mention men. At the end of the exercise, one of the drill commanders came up to me and said, listen, I have to take my hat off to you for the professionalism, control and management of the exercise. Frankly, he said, I was surprised. I told him - and here's a life lesson, a woman without military experience will know how to manage any arena, every civilian and military event alike - thanks to her skills, professionalism, and good familiarity with the population in the field. It is precisely the look at eye and heart level that gives us the advantage that often outweighs experience as well.

I believe that in order for employees to run with me in an emergency, they must first believe in me in routine, they need to understand the purpose, connect to the path, feel partners in destiny. This is true in many sectors, but especially strong in the public service where the main incentive we have to offer is meaning, and meaning is not connected by means of fear. And not to be confused, alongside these elements will come the demand for professionalism, clear goals, in-depth learning, and striving for excellence and results. So even if at first it took some time, the determination alongside the sensitivity and belief in the righteousness of the path turned me in the eyes of the employees and the environment into the manager I am – not because of me or because I am a woman, but because of who and what I know how to bring."

What activities are you promoting in the Authority for the Encouragement of Women?
"In the current term, under the leadership of Mayor Shmuel Boxer, Ness Ziona has undergone a revolution in its management avenue, and today it stands at about 60% senior female managers. It is a moral and ethical question whether there is an obligation on women in senior management positions to actively promote other women. I know many senior women with diverse worldviews. I can say that as far as we are concerned, the goal is to create real substantive equality. With the understanding that women and men can be equal but not identical - we emphasize the required result but are very flexible with regard to the way to reach it."

What's your tip for women considering running in the upcoming elections?
"I believe that everyone should make her choice out of self-belief and self-confidence, and as much as she thinks she is suitable or wants to do a certain role - do not hesitate, do not be afraid, and simply cope. Maybe you'll fail, maybe you won't choose, but dare and try."

55 women directors general in local government, 0 in government ministries (photo: official website, courtesy of those photographed)

Fadwa Dabur - Secretary of the Druze Community of Beit Jan

57 years old, married, mother of 4 and grandmother of two granddaughters. B.A. in Political Science and Sociology M.A. with honors from the University of Haifa. She has worked in the Beit Jen Local Council for 34 years since 2004 and was elected to serve as the council's secretary.

"At the beginning of our term, we began an organizational development process within the framework of an Interior Ministry program with close organizational consultants, a process that is not easy and involves many changes and budgets that need to be utilized. The process sets important goals: strengthening the productive capacity of the authority's managers, developing human capital, improving service to residents and reducing digital gaps. In terms of successes, the process succeeded quite well, a lot of work was invested, but some gaps remain because it is not easy to make internal changes."

Fadwa Dabur - Beit Jan (Photo: official website, Photo: Noel Dabur)

The low number of women in local
government"In my opinion, this is worrying, although in recent years there has been a relatively good increase to what it was before, in our society unfortunately the situation is even worse (we are only 3 women in all the Arab and Druze municipalities). The role has been perceived as a male role since the establishment of the state, and the problem is not with women but with the mayors who choose their CEOs as positions of trust; they don't know that women bring a different management style that involves more listening and listening, more support and a more systemic view that sees every project or activity from the perspective of mother, woman, family.

Indeed, the job is demanding and requires a lot of investment and unusual work hours, and therefore some women do not prefer such a role, especially when there are small children in the family, but all the CEOs who serve are no less than the CEOs in successes and in the level of management and action in their authorities "fight like lionesses". It is not easy to manage in a male world, it is not easy to manage in a developing society and in a traditional society, it is not easy to live with the feeling that you as a woman have to constantly fight for your place and in order to prove that you can and you are worthy and surpass other managers in skills, abilities and knowledge. But if we don't fight for our place, no one will take care of us or bring us a senior position on a silver platter."

"There is a preference for women to fill positions and managerial positions, and this is a motto within our authority, based on the concept: a. Women should be promoted to managerial positions. b. That the men work outside the village and more women work in their community. And now there are more department heads on the council, which was not the case in 2004."

What's your tip for women considering running in the upcoming elections?
"Go for it, don't hesitate. Believe in yourself and don't stop dreaming and aspiring, politics is the place where you can influence and lead social, educational and political changes. There will never be a change in the local political landscape if we do not dare to wield a hammer of courage and shatter the concrete ceiling. Indeed, the local political arena is not easy, but don't be afraid to take a risk, show self-confidence, the road to success is paved with many obstacles and challenges, but yes you can."

Moran Yitzhaki - CEO of Tamar Regional Council

39 years old, married + 3. For two and a half years as CEO of M.A. Tamar, a lawyer, she worked as legal counsel in the Council and before that as a lawyer in the private market.

"The biggest challenge was restoring and rebuilding trust on a variety of levels – natural partners of the Regional Council, the central government and government ministries, and even within the work teams. A long process that began at the outset with great openness to receive criticism and analyze the existing challenges, not only mine but also that of my mayor and the entire managerial avenue. Later on, we really worked on building partnerships with patience, transparency, willingness to inclusion while attributing good intentions to the other side. Challenging, satisfying and fulfilling."

What do you think about the low number of women in local government?
"There are many women in local government, hardworking, successful and mighty. Even within the council under my management, there are a variety of women in key positions, diligent plenary members, and directors of communities with a purpose. The neighboring councils also have proper female power - in all the regional councils in our region there is a woman CEO - Megillarot, Middle Arava, Hevel Eilot and Ramat Negev. So there's definitely a kingdom in the desert."

Moran Yitzhaki, CEO of M.A. Tamar (Photo: official website, photo: Oz Shechter)

Personal experience as a woman in a men's environment?
"Shortly after I began my work, I held a meeting on security issues with external officials. When I entered the conference room, the attendees ordered coffee. I smiled, went out and prepared for everyone with love, and made sure to convey the message that everyone makes coffee with us."

What activities are you promoting in the Authority for the Encouragement of Women?
"The issue of women's advancement and development concerns me very much in a variety of aspects. First, most of the employees in the council arrive by shuttle that takes between half an hour and an hour. This year, after a successful pilot, we added additional transportation to allow flexibility and optimal work-life balance. In addition, I am pushing (some would say too much) women to go to higher education – just last year five women enrolled in undergraduate degrees jointly funded by the Council."

What's your tip for women considering running in the upcoming elections?
"In my opinion, local government has the most opportunities to have a substantial impact on the quality of life in the local and regional spaces. Accordingly, it is very satisfying and allows you to see results in a short time. So with all my heart - run for it!"

Ziva Himberg - CEO of Hadera Municipality

52 years old, married + 4, social worker, BA and MA in social work. She has worked in the Hadera Municipality for 30 years, including 29 years in the Welfare and Social Services Department.

"About a year and a half ago, the mayor took office and after about two months I enlisted in the task of CEO. In a short period of time, it was necessary to stabilize the system for continued regular work through synergy between the various departments and the realization of the mayor's vision."

Women in Local
Government"Fortunately, in the Hadera municipality, women are at the forefront of the organization's management, legal advisor, treasurer, municipal auditor, director of the human capital division, director of the welfare department, municipal spokeswoman and director of the resident service division.

I think that senior management in local government requires many hours of work and being away from home, and unfortunately talented and successful women are afraid to take such a significant and important challenge and pay these prices. It is important to note that female management ability has such great values and significance in leading and balancing the organization while addressing a complex ecosystem. The ability to juggle many tasks simultaneously and see things from a macro perspective and from a wide angle."

Ziva Himberg - Hadera (Photo: courtesy of the subjects, photo: Rama Shefi Yazma)

Ahead of the elections
"The most significant challenge is to help the division managers and employees continue their work in accordance with the work plans and not allow the political noise to divert them from the main thing. Balances are the most significant thing these days."

What's your tip for women considering running in the upcoming elections?
"It is a great privilege to lead the conduct of a city, but at the same time it is important to maintain home and family life."

Rivka Buzaglo - CEO of Kiryat Gat Municipality

57 years old, married, mother of four and grandmother of three grandchildren. She holds a master's degree in family and community, a bachelor's degree in special education + a teaching certificate. Director General of the Kiryat Gat Municipality for the past four years.

"The biggest challenges during my tenure are managing the municipal coronavirus system, in addition the municipality has an accountant accompanying me with whom I work in full cooperation towards the great challenge of Kiryat Gat, absorbing thousands of new young families into the city for years in a row, and in fact doubling the tax on the city's residents within a short period of time."

The low number of women in local government:
"I would like to note with joy that in the Kiryat Gat municipality, more than 80% of management positions are filled by women. The vast majority of division directors are women and I think that this fact has added value and a great contribution to the municipality's work. I would love to see more women serving in senior positions in other cities. Thank God in our day and age, it's no longer surprising to find a woman serving as CEO."

Rivka Buzaglo - Kiryat Gat (Photo: official website, Photo: Kiryat Gat Spokesperson's Office)

How do you prepare for the election campaign?
"In the face of the many challenges that I have presented, we are mainly required during this period to continue hard and precise work while ignoring background noise on the part of those who seek to disrupt the municipality's activity. The secret is substantive and focused work . The tasks are many and the schedule is tight and they dictate the agenda."

What's your tip for women considering running in the upcoming elections?
"To make sure that work and love for the city and its residents are their top priorities. Also take into account the intensity and work around the clock. Always be in learning mode and leave small islands of self-time to recharge."

  • local
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  • Local Councils
  • Local Authority

Source: walla

All news articles on 2023-06-04

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