We like to joke around here at SexFeed but some things are so absurd that nothing we could add could further enhance their ridiculousness. A gynecological conference in which women are banned from speaking is one of them.
The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that the conference “Innovations in Gynecology/Obstetrics and Halacha [Jewish law]” held in Jerusalem by the Puah Institute (named for a revered midwife from the times of Moses) will only allow males to speak at the podium. The “exclusion of women from various settings in Israel because of pressure from ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders reached a new level” with this one, the paper reports.
Two Israeli doctors withdrew from the conference once they discovered the exclusion … or “once public outrage over the exclusion became apparent.” Israeli human rights groups have protested the exclusion of women from the conference, which is considered a private event and not subject to anti-discrimination policies. Unfortunately, protestors point out, Puah does get funding from the Health Ministry. If we understand the politics correctly it’s the ultra-Orthodox Deputy Health Minister “who actually runs the department” and not the Prime Minister, Bejamin Netanyahu, who is also the Health Minister, so the complaints may not make that much difference.
“To be sure, not all sectors of the ultra-Orthodox community support these exclusionary tactics,” explains Nachman Ben-Yehuda, a Hebrew University sociology professor and author of the recently published book Theocratic Democracy. “But most people are too afraid to speak out.”