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Giving women an extra edge in kibbutz leadership

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Israel’s kibbutzim have always been at the forefront of gender equality: since their inception, women worked the land, participated in leadership, and were generally seen as just as capable as their male counterparts. .

And yet, most leadership positions in kibbutz organizations and industries are still held by men, with women not quite reaching C status.

This awareness is what prompted the kibbutz movement, the kibbutz industry association and Supersonas, an organization dedicated to advancing women to leadership positions, to set up a course called ‘The’ Academy of future CEOs ”.

The organizers of the Kibbutz Women’s Leadership Course. Photo by Inbal Leviatan

It brings together women in senior positions in the kibbutz community to give them useful tools, a supportive environment and networking opportunities.

“The ultimate goal of the initiative is to enable women to access key positions and influence the kibbutz movement and kibbutz industries, and enable their integration into key positions in Israeli society as a whole. », Explains Hilit Ben Zvi, one of the organizers and director of the course. the advancement of women and the gender division of the Kibbutz Movement.

“We have a wide range of participants from the fields of the kibbutz industry and community management who want to take the next step or are looking for this company,” she adds. Participants, she notes, include accountants, finance directors, social workers and human resources staff, all at the management level.

The initiative has just completed its second course, of which 22 women have graduated. The previous one included 24 participants, and there is interest in the next ones, says Ben Zvi.

How to create a username

“We deal with issues such as who I am, how to create an ‘ID’ and how to present yourself, the whole issue of branding, negotiations, as well as meeting with a panel of women who ‘made it. “And have reached influential positions in their companies,” she said of the business. “We also work a lot on the theme of personal encounters and the creation of a female economy.

“Both courses were very successful, and our greatest satisfaction was seeing their work in the joint WhatsApp group and their meetings going on, the way they consult with each other,” she says. “A truly excellent work team has been assembled and I have no doubts that we will see its influence on the kibbutz community and as a whole. “

Hilit Ben Zvi, Unit Director of the Kibbutz Movement for the Promotion of Gender Equality. (Liat shaken)

One of the participants in the most recent course was Raaya Ben Avraham, the community leader of Kibbutz Naan in central Israel, who is in charge of all communal areas of the kibbutz, its procedures and regulations and deals with personal problems of its members.

“Managing the kibbutz you live in is not easy. You have to make decisions that affect the lives of the people you meet on the sidewalks next, ”she says.

“One of the most important things for me about participating in this course was that beyond the information we got, the speakers and the actual studies, it was important for me to have a peer group with which to I could let go and ventilate everything, ”she explains.

“In management positions, and especially women in management positions, they take everything to heart. There must be a place where you can breathe, to give free rein to the frustrations and loneliness of work.

It’s all about connections

The main thing she will take with her from class, she says, is the ability to reach out to other women and connect.

“Today, we can no longer advance in the world of management only with his CV, she notes. “These connections, especially for women, are critical to success. In the world of management, women are in the minority, and sometimes they do not receive the necessary support from the men or women with whom they work.

On a practical level, says Ben Avraham, she has already applied the negotiation skills she learned and also found what she learned about story telling and self-branding particularly interesting.

“I don’t know when I will use each of the tools I received and how it might help me in a given meeting, but the seeds have been planted and it gives me a lot of confidence,” she says.

The course provides participants with useful tools, a supportive environment and networking opportunities. (Liat shaken)

Another participant in the most recent course is Shirly Gavriely, chief financial officer of a large agricultural company that imports avocados and citrus fruits to Europe, the United States and Canada.

“I will take with me a lot of thinking, a lot of contemplation – what needs to be strengthened, what needs to be changed. And also all the information and of course the great people that I met there in a wide variety of professions, ”she says.

“I will also want to actively use elements, such as personal branding. There are also things that I don’t consciously use, but I end up thinking about them later, ”she adds.

The coronavirus crisis, she notes, has not affected the course at all.

“It was a great experience as it went in a very professional and structured manner, despite the coronavirus crisis and the lockdown in the midst of it. There were all kinds of talks on Zoom that went beyond the original plan, which was always honored, ”she says. “Everyone was very professional.

“I would definitely recommend this course regardless of personal aspirations. It’s a course that gives so much, ”she concludes.


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