Michele Pollock, Chair, WIZOuk
Michele Vogel, Hon. President, WIZOuk
Amongst the suffragettes !00 years ago voicing support for women to be heard was a strong-minded woman from a prominent Jewish family in Manchester. Together with Vera Weizman and Romana Goodman, Rebecca Sieff wished to play an active role in the hitherto male dominated Zionist movement led by their husbands.
Returning from an arduous six month fact-finding tour of what was then Palestine Rebecca founded The Federation of Women Zionists, with the purpose of supporting the influx of women and their families and providing child care to enable women to work alongside the men in agriculture and other essential areas of work .Today WIZO, the Women’s International Zionist Organisation, has members in over 50 countries worldwide and is the largest social welfare and education provider working in partnership with the government of Israel.
Its impact on women’s lives is as vital today as it was 100 years ago. Through shelters for victims of domestic violence and legal advice bureaux to lobbying for women’s rights in the Knesset or as an NGO on UN bodies WIZO continues to carry the torch on women’s issues, empowering women and teenage girls and enabling their voices to be heard.
On this International Women’s Day we look forward to the next 100 years with commitment and hope for the betterment of women’s lives, not only in Israel but throughout the world.