Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Visit To Israel


Justice Ginsburg was honored with the Genesis Lifetime Achievement Award in Tel Aviv on July 4, 2018. In the course of her visit to Israel, Justice Ginsburg also took part in The Genesis Prize Foundation’s Conference on Women’s Empowerment and Violence Prevention in Tel-Aviv, and met with more than 50 leaders of Jewish and Arab Israeli women’s NGOs. 

These events are a part of The Genesis Prize Foundation’s year-long philanthropic initiative focusing on gender equality and advancement for women. The initiative is undertaken in partnership with Israeli philanthropist Morris Kahn, who also supported last year’s Genesis Prize grant-making activities aimed at helping refugees. 

“The Genesis Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates Justice Ginsburg’s lifelong advocacy for human rights and the profound impact she has had on legal rights for women,” said Morris Kahn. “While women across the world are much better off today than when Justice Ginsburg began her lifelong struggle for gender equality, there is still much work to be done.”

Thus, 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, published by the World Economic Forum, ranked Israel as 44th out of 144 countries, denoting a position 9 places lower than a decade ago. Among the reasons were a persistent 40% wage gap between men and women, low levels of women’s participation in politics and senior government posts (19% of ministerial posts and 27% of Knesset members), as well as in top executive roles (33% women executives vs. 67% men).

The report, which is considered to be the most authoritative research on the subject that captures the magnitude of gender disparities and tracks countries’ progress towards closing the gender gap, ranked the United States even lower – at 49th place, five places below Israel. While the US ranked at the top of the world in terms of access to education by women, its standing was hurt by low scores on women’s health and survival (82nd place), as well as political empowerment (96th). Overall the US ranks between Peru and Zimbabwe, which closes the top fifty countries. 

In the past several weeks, The Genesis Prize Foundation announced two grant initiatives focused on advancing gender equality in Israel and in North America. Winning grantees will be announced in autumn and winter, respectively, with up to $3 million in new funding for innovative non-profit organizations’ programs dedicated to advancing women’s equality.

Over the past four years GPF and its partners have invested more than $10 million in philanthropic initiatives including encouraging social innovation and entrepreneurship, welcoming intermarried families and those with disabilities into the Jewish community, and helping alleviate the refugee crisis. 

About The Genesis Prize Foundation’s 2018 Philanthropic Focus

The Genesis Prize comes with a $1 million award, doubled to $2 million in 2018 by Israeli philanthropist and GPF partner Morris Kahn. 

“Advancing women’s equality in all aspects of human endeavor” was Genesis Prize’s chosen philanthropic theme for 2018 when it selected Natalie Portman as its 2018 Laureate,” said Sana Britavsky, Deputy CEO of The Genesis Prize Foundation.  “While Ms. Portman has declined to attend the Genesis Prize ceremony in Jerusalem, our foundation is more committed than ever to advancing the cause of women’s equality – a matter of great social importance globally as well as here in Israel.”

The Foundation announced that it will distribute the 2018 Prize Award to Israeli and North American NGOs working to advance gender equality. 

In May, GPF and Morris Kahn launched a competition for $1 million in grants to Israeli non-profit organizations working in the field of women’s rights.  They identified four areas as priorities for its grant-making in Israel:

  • Socio-Economic Participation and Opportunity, in particular for women from Israel's geographic and social periphery. This area was recognized in the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap as a topic with vast discrepancies between women and men in Israel;
  • Creating Gender Equality, particularly around marriage and divorce, and supporting women who are contending with the exclusive jurisdiction of halacha. Women's inequality in this context has been one of the most acute topics on the agenda for Israeli women, with a disparate and extensive impact on Orthodox women.
  • The Rights and Status of Women from Minority Groups: Arab, Druze, Bedouin and Haredi women, women in the LGBT community, new immigrants, and those living on the social periphery all suffer compounded discrimination in almost all areas of life: education, family, political participation and economic security.
  • Empowering Women to Resist Violence: While violence has been a pervasive problem for decades, only in the recent past have an increasing number of Israeli women found the strength to speak up, tell their stories of sexual harassment and assault and take action.

The competition, administered by Matan-United Way Israel, received a record number of applications (more than 220). GPF will announce the winners of the competition in September 2018, prior to Rosh Hashanah.

In June, GPF and Morris Kahn launched a matching grants competition for Jewish organizations in the US and Canada committed to promoting gender equality, The Genesis Prize Women’s Empowerment Challenge.

The matching grants competition is administered by Jewish Funders Network (JFN).  Proposals will be accepted until November 16, 2018 and grantees announced in the winter of 2018-2019. The North American matching grants program is expected to generate $1.5-2 million in new funding for Jewish organizations, depending on the amount of matching funds attracted by applicants.

The Genesis Prize matching grants initiative in North America will  fund programs in the areas of prevention of gender-based discrimination; harassment and assault in Jewish community workplaces and communal spaces; development of gender sensitivity and inclusivity educational and training programs in Jewish communal organizations;  encouraging and supporting opportunities for Jewish girls and women to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and career; and conducting research on salaries for men and women working in the Jewish community.

This is the first matching grants initiative to focus on women’s advancement in the North American Jewish community since gender inequality and harassment issues came to the forefront of public attention.

The Genesis Prize Foundation