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(copyright: Loui Wine / Ruby Lane Jeweler. Details on the piece hereAntique Suffragette colors English 18K Diamond and gem set Bee Brooch, C. 1910. More details – and some myth busting –  on “Suffragette jewelry” below. But is *is* such a pretty piece!)

Friday was March 8, the International Day for Women. Or as I like to call it “an orchestrated rebellion against the hegemony of the patriarchy”  At least in principle. In Israel the events were mainly NGO-driven (which is great! Grass roots and bottom-up action is required to change society for the better) The Knesset hosted a special plenum that Netanyahu failed to attend. Shame on you Bibi! 

At the Cinematek in Jerusalem there was a special screening of “The Price of Sex,” an American documentary about the thousands of young Eastern European women who have been trafficked and forced to work as sex slavers. It was partly organised by the Israeli NGO ATZUM’s Task Force on Human Trafficking. The event honored former Kadima Knesset Member and head of the Sub Committee Against Human Trafficking of the 18th Knesset, Orit Zuaretz. We’ve written about her awesomeness before here at the Gates.

The Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS — Vera and I have a running joke. I’ll text her something about the CBS and she mentioned one of the many *other* entities known as the CBS – one of the most common ones in Israel is the Central Bus Station here in J’lem. and i am always like “no! the statistics place!” I read their press releases too much i guess) put out a summary of 2012 for ‘women’.It’s only available in Hebrew (here)

BUT the American missions to the U.S. put out a summary in English. Thanks guys & gals — i copy/paste:

In the beginning of 2012 there were 2,888,330 women living in Israel aged 15 and up. This is slightly above the number of men in Israel aged 15 and up who number 2,741,400.

In the work sector, the unemployment rate is relatively even. The unemployment rate for women in 2012 was 7 percent compared with men who were at 6.8 percent. About two-thirds of women who are working, are working full time.

While we don’t have information on every labor sector, it’s interesting to note that in the high-tech sector, women absolutely have their voices heard. Almost 100,000 women work in Israel’s high tech industries in 2012. They represent 36.6% of all Israelis working in that field.

But in order to get to that point, education is key. In Israel, the last few years continued the trend of women excelling and even exceeding their male counterparts in several areas. During the 2012 school year, out of 303,600 Israeli students, 172,100 were women. At 56.7% this compares favorably to the years 1969-1970, in which most of the students were male and the percentage of women stood at only 43.3%.

While the dropout rate has gone down for both sexes, males reached 4.5% in 2011, as opposed to 1.7% for females.
Women also led the way in pursuing advanced degrees. From 55,900 candidates for master’s degrees in 2012, 33,200 were women (59.3%), and in doctoral programs, the percentage of women reached 52.4%.

It’s worth noting that in the recently elected 19th Knesset, there are a record number of female representatives elected. At 23 percent female, Israel’s legislature has a higher ratio than the E.U. average or the United States.

So it doesn’t look extremely bleak — just kinda bland.

Here’s to the ongoing work for a more equal and respectful society! Regardless of gender and sex, people deserve better…

Now, I know you are still wondering about the pretty bee pin.

Here’s the story – there’s a concept of “suffregette colours” (like here) basically saying that purple, white, and green & gold was used by the movement. At some point, so the story goes, it became popular to design jewelry in those colours to express your political stance. the pin above is one of them and I would like it (I know my mum reads this blog, and let me say that the bee pin I am borrowing from your jewelry box ‘indefinitely’ is very pretty  – and yes, I knwo it was grandmother K’s and I wear it. But i would also like this one. because gem stones are good. also for the feminists! And you are not getting the other pin back)

All’s well, except apparently the myth took on a life of its own… and fraudulent jewelry pieces are being sold now adays. I found this detailed and sensible article on the topic: Suffragette Jewelry, Or Is It? Dispelling Myths and Ms-conceptions / Ivor hughes (it’s from the Antiques journal.) If you like history and herstory and jewelry you must go read…

According to a widely propagated myth, suffragette jewelry in Britain was made of green, white and violet semi-precious stones, whose colors were a code for Give Women Votes. Suffragette jewelry originated in the 1890s, after the suffragette movement was banned. It was produced until 1918, the year in which British women first obtained the right to vote. Or so the myth goes.
Absolute nonsense – a little history lesson can set us straight (…)

Dismantling the Myth
1. The term “suffragette jewelry” cannot have existed before 1906 and, even if applied retrospectively, cannot relate to anything made before October 1903.
2. WSPU’s color scheme of purple, white and green was introduced in 1908. Anything in those colors and with an earlier hallmark is pure coincidence.
3. The colors were never announced as green, white and violet. The universal phrase at the time was “Votes for Women” not “Give Women Votes.”
4. The colors were no secret and did not need to be expressed as a code – suffragettes marched publicly in and underneath them. There is no record of any banner, leaflet or postcard connecting any GWV motto and color scheme.
5. WSPU was never banned. Still, the timeframe for the manufacture of suffragette jewelry is much narrower than some would have us believe. (…) For The Record
Suffragettes and suffragists alike did issue many badges, medals and medallions to denote membership – or achievements and ordeals such as imprisonment and taking part in hunger strikes. One charming example is a badge designed by Sylvia Pankhurst, daughter of WSPU co-founder Emmeline (pictured.) It was issued to members imprisoned in HMP Holloway, then and still England’s most notorious prison for women. Such iconic items are uncommon and most rest securely with families or in museums or private collections.

I love learning new things!