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Announcing the Wexner Summit on Gender: Safety and Equity in the Jewish and Israeli Work Space and Life

Posted on Friday, March 22, 2019

"As the #MeToo movement has grown and spread across industries and sectors, it has laid bare an inescapable truth: the Jewish community is subject to the same kinds of issues, inequities and power dynamics that exist in other communities."

-- from the SafetyRespectEquity Coalition

Israel is ranked fourth of the 36 OECD countries (The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) with the highest gender related wage gap. (Canada is 6th and the US is 7th.)

The Wexner Foundation will convene a Summit on Gender: Safety and Equity in Jewish and Israeli Work Space and Life, for alumni across our programs.

If you or the institutions with which you are affiliated are committed to ensuring safe, respectful and equitable workplaces/community spaces by addressing sexual harassment, sexism and gender discrimination, this Summit provides an opportunity for you to learn, teach, find allies; to change and make change. Additionally, if the #metoo movement has started to make you realize that your place of work or the organizations you serve do not yet have the most up to date cultures or policies in place for equity in hiring, promotion and compensation, or safety policy and proper reporting procedures, you are welcome to participate as well. 

The active part of the Summit on Gender will run from October 27, 2019 through November 12, 2020. The year of work will be book-ended by two gatherings: the opening meeting October 27-29, 2019 in Chantilly, VA, and the closing one in Zichron Yaakov, Israel, November 10-12, 2020. As with all Wexner Summits, the intervening year is a time for you to double down with strategic partners to advance work that speaks to the challenge of this Summit.

Participation in the Gender Summit will be by invitation. We will be reaching out to exceptional alumni from the Wexner Field Fellowship, Wexner Graduate Fellowship/Davidson Scholars, Wexner Heritage Program, Wexner Israel Fellowship and the Wexner Senior Leaders Network. 

Teams or individuals will be invited to register in May. While additional spots will be very limited, if you'd like to express interest in participating, please email Angie Atkins, Director, Wexner Heritage Alumni. 

As with all Wexner Summits, this Summit will bring together those alumni of Wexner leadership initiatives who are committed to improving Jewish and Israeli communal life in accordance with values that animate the work of The Wexner Foundation: respect, open-mindedness, curiosity, pluralism and deep listening. And we add to that list: safety and equity – including equity of opportunity and pay – in the workplace and the boardroom.

Goals of this Summit include: 

  • To increase awareness and skills among our alumni regarding their own personal relationship to issues of gender and power as Jewish and Israeli leaders.
  • To empower alumni to implement and support the changes that will address gender inequity and power dynamics in the organizations they serve.
  • To mine the resources (human, intellectual and spiritual) within the Wexner network that can contribute to equity and safety in our communities and workplaces.
  • To generate or build on initiatives across the North American Jewish and Israeli communities to eradicate sexual harassment.

Examples of Tachlis Challenges We Welcome Participants to Solve for Through this Summit:

I've been trying for 2 years to get my organization to formalize a policy on sexual harassment for our staff and others we hire as faculty or consultants. This would include a reporting structure that does not stigmatize or make victims feel uncomfortable and an investigation process that is fair, independent, thorough and quick. It's not that people don't care, it's just not a top priority here, so we still have nothing in place.

In many government ministries, certainly in mine, people who have served at the highest levels in the most prestigious army units rise to the top. These, by default currently, are almost always men. 

I’ve been on search committees / I’ve hired staff positions recently and we are having trouble getting women to apply.

I see in many of the Jewish organizations I'm involved in that as women rise to the highest leadership levels and start to occupy more of the senior staff positions, once it gets near a 50/50 split, the men start to disappear. Even in my egalitarian shul, it's only women up there now on the bima reading Torah, gabbaing, etc...and men, myself included I admit, feel less motivated somehow to come. I know I have to work on myself but also is there something women can do too to make space more welcoming to men (once it becomes feminized)?

Our major donor is known for belittling staff and also making some of our employees feel uncomfortable when they are alone together with off color remarks and other innuendos. Nothing overtly abusive but definitely crossing the line. How do we handle that?

Dates:

  •  Participants must commit to attending both meetings as well as some advance work and self-directed work through at least November 12, 2020:
    • October 27-29, 2019 in Chantilly, VA
    • November 10-12, 2020 in Zichron Yaakov, Israel

Travel and programming at the two gatherings will be covered by the Foundation.