International Women’s Day in the Shadow of October 7th through the eyes of BGU’s Dana Gavish

On Thursday, March 7th, 2024, Ben-Gurion University Canada (BGU Canada) will present a special webinar titled, “International Women’s Day in the Shadow of October 7th.” This webinar will feature presentations by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) Senior Lecturer from the Program of Gender Studies, Sarai Aharoni PhD, and the Founder of the Yazamut 360 Entrepreneurship Center and Vice President of Entrepreneurship at BGN Technologies, Dana Gavish. Following the presentations, a Q&A session will be led by BGU Canada CEO Andrea Freedman.

Our Communications Director, Galit Solomon, spoke with Dana Gavish recently to learn more about what she will address in her presentation. Here, in her voice, are three main themes she plans to cover.

  1. How October 7th impacted those around me – I live near Jerusalem with my husband and children; they range in age from a 12-year-old daughter to a 20-year-old son who is a soldier. While we live a substantial distance from the Negev, in the early morning hours of October 7th, I woke up to the distant sound of bombs falling. My 12-year-old daughter was at a sleepover, and I anticipated that the alarms in our community will sound soon, urging us to get into our saferooms. The conversations I had with my daughter since that morning have been heavy and difficult. Hers is a generation that has been forced to grow up quicker than they should. In my talk on March 7th, I will offer insights into the types of conversations that I, and other Israeli parents like me, have been having with our kids including addressing their fears and hopes. 
  1. Student, Noa Argamani – As Founder of Yazamut 360 Entrepreneurship Center I oversee the work of 22 employees, six of whom were stuck overseas following October 7th, and 10 who were recruited to serve their country. Within days of the events of October 7th, I also learned that one of our students that had been accepted in the new “Leaders” cohort, Noa Argamani, was taken hostage. I, like many of the others at Yazamut, have been holding my breath ever since, waiting for her safe return. When the program started at BGU in late December, we set up an empty chair next to mine, with a t-shirt bearing her picture on it. During my upcoming presentation, I will talk about the painful reality of Noa’s absence, and that of so many others on our campus.
  1. Messages of support from the international community – The number of phone calls and emails I have received from non-Israeli individuals I have met along my career journey has been heartwarming. While there is a sense that international bodies like the United Nations have shown blatant disregard for Israel and Israeli hostages, my experience has been different with one-on-one interactions. There has been compassion and support from people I’ve only met once, and people I’ve known for many years. It is greatly appreciated! My presentation will delve into the support that no one else see’s but is still there. The kind of support that gives me hope.

In addition to the above themes, Dana will also address how October 7th became a turning point for the status of women in Israeli society, and specifically in military service. She will also speak about her role as a leader, and what it was like to show up to work and lead her team during this time of crisis.

To register for BGU Canada’s “International Women’s Day in the Shadow of October 7th,” please click here.

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