24 Jul 2019
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Aiming for equality
IDE recently held their first-ever conference on advancing women in diamond trade where-in female members of Israel Diamond Exchange discussed on how to perk up their chances in the diamond business. A Report by Kunjal Karaniya.
By: Diamond World News Service
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Aug 5 2013 3:48PM
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Reference: 8068  

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Most of the female members of the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) took part in a first-ever conference intended at advancing the status of female members of the bourse. Amongst the total of 3,200 members in IDE, around 250 are women. Held in late June, at the conference, participants heard presentations by Varda Shine, Senior Vice-President of the De Beers Group; Vered Peer Swaid, Head of the Authority for the Advancement of Women in Israel; and diamantaires Orit Zikri and Nurit Rotman. "This conference will go down as a milestone in the history of the diamond bourse," saidYair Sahar, President, IDE, who initiated this meeting which was held to hear the views of women, their work experience and to establish a forum to propose new ways ahead. Yair Sahar dedicated his initial short remarks to his mother, a housewife who, while raising four children, was forced to take on the role the main breadwinner overnight due to the illness of his father.

The event was organised by Miriam Reuven, Bourse member; Irit Ben-Shachar, the exchange's Deputy General Manager and her Assistant Hila Cohen Yashar, while it was moderated byMoti Besser, General Manager, IDE.Yair Sahar said, "There are amazing women at the exchange doing business worth millions of dollars but they are still not involved in public service. I therefore call on these members to express their potential and abilities and platy their part in public service. There is no reason why women they should not lead and serve as bourse president or deputy president."Introducing the first speaker, he told the participants about a 22-year-old woman who came to check his business when he was starting as a diamantaire. "That woman - Varda Shine - broke through the glass ceiling and today is a Senior Vice-President of De Beers," Yair Sahar noted.Varda Shine said that 30 years ago, when she began working in the diamond industry it was dominated by men. Nevertheless, today women occupy top positions and bring their individuality to the industry as well as their ability to see the business worldin a different way. "There is no reason to try and act like men. Men are better at being men than we are. We need to be different," she said, as she encouraged women to set out their paths and make their aims a reality.

The head of the Authority for the Advancement of Women in Israel, Vered Peer Swaid, who is the daughter of a diamantaire from Netanya, spoke about the issues that restrict women from moving ahead. For instance, she pointed out that while in Israel 50 percent out of all students completing a doctorate are women; only 11 percent become associate or full professors. She also spoke about the disparity in salary between men and women in the public sector and pointed out that this difference is yet not been resolved."In school, they teach us important things but not about relationships or parenting. Women fall victim to romance without understanding a thing about equality or about planning a career," she said, concluding her comments by encouragingthe women be a part of this much needed change in this modern era. She subsequentlyalso agreed to Moti Besser's request of accompanying her in the process of advancing women at the diamond exchange.

In the meantime, Orit Zikri, member, IDE said that when the market is failing, women suffer the most, as in such a situation, many diamantaires prefer to give goods for sale to men brokers rather than to female brokers, believing that women are the secondary bread-earners in their families. She called on her counterparts to not to surrenderdue the external factors that hold them back. "Dear friends - let us release ourselves from fear and head forward."Nurit Rotman, Diamantaire, who is a regular columnist in HaYahalom magazine, suggested that women should become more active and search for new ways to advance themselves professionally. "Nobody advances if they just sit in the corner of the room and no-one gets ahead if they think they don't deserve it."Advancement of women aims to empower them and does not lead to a conflict. She suggested to all the women present there to take part in the US & International Diamond Week to be held in August. "Let's take the initiative and not sit in the doorway or in a corner," she said. While concluding, Moti Besser invited all the women to join an IDE Steering Committee that will discuss and set-out courses of action for the advancement of women at the exchange.

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