The Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) organised a conference in late June, to advance the status of female members at the bourse. The conference was the first such organised by the IDE and saw majority of the female members of bourse participating. Presentations were made by Varda Shine, the senior vice president of the De Beers Group; Vered Peer Swaid, the head of the Authority for the Advancement of Women in Israel and diamantaires Orit Zikri and Nurit Rotman.

According to the IDE there are 3,200 members, some 250 of whom are women.

« This conference will go down as a milestone in the history of the diamond bourse, » said IDE’s president Yair Sahar, who initiated the meeting that was held to hear the views of women and their work experience and to establish a forum that will suggest ways forward. Sahar applauded women at the exchange for their abilities in doing business worth millions of dollars, and said ‘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. » Organized by bourse member Miriam Reuven, the exchange’s deputy general manager Irit Ben-Shachar and her assistant Hila Cohen Yashar, the event was moderated by IDE’s general manager, Moti Besser.

Shine said that when she began working in the diamond industry 30 years ago it was dominated by men. Today, though, women occupy leading positions and bring their uniqueness to the industry as well as their ability to look differently at the business world. « 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. Peer Swaid, daughter of a diamantaire from Netanya, spoke about the issues that keep women from getting ahead, and also of salary gaps between men and women in the public sector. She consequently agreed to Moti Besser’s request that she accompany the process of advancing women at the diamond exchange.

Diamantaire Rotman, who is a regular columnist in  »HaYahalom » magazine, suggested that women become active and search for ways to advance themselves professionally. She suggested to all the women in attendance to take part in the U.S. and International Diamond Week in August. « Let’s take the initiative and not sit in the doorway or in a corner, » she said. In conclusion, Besser invited 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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