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Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Thursday that Israel is still a long way from achieving equality between men and women and that the low representation of females in the Knesset is a "cause for shame".

Livni made the remarks at a special Knesset session Thursday to mark International Women's Day, which took place on Sunday.

A record 21 female MKs were elected from a total of 120 seats in the new Knesset.

MK Dalia Itzik said the task of achieving greater female representation was not too great, reminding MKs that she had once been Knesset speaker and that Livni had been a candidate for prime minister.

"My life is completely different from that of my mother," Itzik said. "I hope that my daughter's life will be completely different from my own, and I hope that my granddaughter will say that International Women's Day needs to be thrown in the dustbin of history," Itzik said.

Dozens of women demonstrated outside the Knesset on Thursday, in a protest organized by the Women's Electoral Power organization to highlight the fact that there will be only one female minister in the incoming government.