Jewfem Blog

68 facts about gender and equality in Israel

overall rankings
gender wage gap 1
cabinet versus oecd
high profile sexual abusers

Overview Israel was one of the first countries to elect a female head of state – Golda Meir – but that hasn’t happened again since 1969, the year I was born.Israel ranks 53rd in the world out of 135 on the Gender Index of the World Economic Forum – ahead of the Arab states, but way behind most Scandinavian and European countries. Other countries that might be of interest : (see chart on the right)Iceland is number 1Rwanda is 6Philippines is 7Nicaragua is 12France at 15Namibia is 16South Africa is 17UK at 18Latvia is 20US at 28Canada at 30Australia 36Israel’s ranking on gender has gone DOWN over the past decade – in 2004 Israel ranked 35… Motherhood and fertility Israel offers paid parental leave of up to 14 weeks, for men or women. Israel has free childcare above age of threeIt is illegal to fire pregnant women in Israel or to make pregnant workers do any liftingIsrael literally pays women to have babiesAbortion is legal under certain conditions, but all women who seek abortions have to be evaluated by a panel.A heterosexual married woman in her childbearing years usually cannot get a legal abortion without a medical reason unless the abortion panel declares her effectively insane.A woman who wants an abortion because she doesn’t want to have children also has to be declared by the panel mentally unwell.Abortion is free for secular teenage girls, but religious girls in national service have to pay for it. Economic equality On the rank of economic equality alone, Israel ranks 71st out of 135 countries.Women make, on average, 66% of what men make, a statistic that hasn’t significantly moved in over three decades.Arab women are on the bottom of Israel’s economic totem pole:  According to the Adva Center, the average Jewish man makes 11,833 NIS per month; the average Jewish woman makes 7,414 NIS per month; the average Arab man makes 6,383 NIS per month; the average Arab woman makes 4,956 NIS per month – less than half of what a Jewish man makes.The average monthly wage of women managers is 73% that of male managers.Even though 65% of state workers are women, less than a third reach the level of senior management.Of the 106 government authorities, only four have a woman director.Only 1 in five hi-tech workers are womenIn academia , 48.3 percent of Israeli women have 13 or more years of schooling compared to 45.4 percent of men.Only one in every five Israeli professors is a woman.Almost six times more men than women run their own businesses.Of the 100 top traded companies, only six are run by womenOf the top 500 companies, only 5.4% are run by women, down from 8% in 2010Only 4%  of boards chairs are women, down from 5% in 201018% of members of the boards are women.Women hi-tech entrepreneurs receive half the funding that men doWomen and men in Israel are still primarily consolidated in professions by gender. According to the Adva center, jobs such as builders, engineers, computer technicians and...

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Be inspired by 67 amazing women in Israel 2015 – TWICE

For Yom Ha’Atzmaut -- Israel’s 67th Independence Day – I decided to create a list of 67 inspiring women in Israel. To do this, I crowdsourced this assignment, with a simple Facebook status update, “Who are the most amazing Israel women that you know? The ones changing the world for good?” Well, the answers came fast, with the most beautiful, loving energy. I was so moved. And once I started collecting them into a list, the numbers far surpassed 67. In fact, the list became closer to TWICE 67. So actually, here is a list of 134 amazing Israeli women for you to get to know this Yom Ha’atzmaut – and at a certain point I really just had to stop (apologies in advance to those I left out who deserve a place here. There are many of you….). The women on this list are activists, educators, artists, scientists, rabbis, writers, and “firsts”, and leaders in a whole range of fields. Some of the women I know well and love, and some I am meeting myself for the first time in this list. They are all worth getting to know. Get ready to be inspired. [PS Feel free to leave comments with names of other women who should be on the list!] Social activists "Firsts" -- Breaking Glass Everythings Thought Leaders Artists Politicians Jewish educators and scholars Lawyer-Activists Rabbis Scientists Writers Miscellaneous  Social activists Linor Abargil. Israeli beauty queen who won the Miss World beauty pageant in 1998, shortly after being raped. Since then, she has become a global advocate in the fight against sexual violence with the film “Brave Miss World”. Daphni Leef. Social activist, video artist, and editor. In July 2011 she was one of the organizers of a tent camp in central Tel Aviv, sparking the 2011 housing protests in Israel. Beth Steinberg. Executive Director and co-founder of Shutaf, Inclusion Programs for Children with Special Needs in Jerusalem. As a parent of a child with special needs, she struggled to find workable, appropriate activities for her child. Beth believes that a well-run inclusion program can help educate and change values, creating meaningful and lasting social change.Rachel Schitskovsky-Ivker. Founder of Hadadi, Breast Cancer support center, a comprehensive center that combines both emotional and material support for women coping with breast cancer – everything  beyond the medical - a supportive community, information, support for family members, specialty accessories for coping with the side-effects of treatment, and other services. Ilana Pinshaw. Director of Microfy, an Israeli based NGO that helps Israeli and asylum seeker entrepreneurs living in the Tel Aviv area become economically independent through loans, training and mentoring. Efrat Degani-Toperoff.  Programme Officer at Yad Hanadiv,  Co-Founder and Chair of Bema’aglei Tzedek and Co-Founder of the Good Neighbour Association and the Psifas Israeli Fund, and a member of the Youth Forum of President Shimon Peres. Avigail Sperber. Filmmaker and activist advocating for religious lesbian women. Founder of Bat Kol organization for religious LGBT community, and creator of award-winning film, “Probation time” about her adopted sister. Phyllis Heimowitz. Founder of “The...

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Shouldn't Zionism Prioritize the Rights of Women?

It’s hard to be a feminist in Israel today. You walk around thinking that it should be obvious that women are equal human beings, fully capable of living independent, free lives. But that belief is challenged in every corner of your life, every day. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Michal Patelle Sure, there are some signs in Israel that women are doing great. We have women pilots, women as heads of the Supreme Court, and even a woman Nobel Prize winnerin science. We once even had a woman prime minister, elected back in the sixties. Indeed, today more bachelor’s degrees are handed out to Israeli women than to men. All these are nice little snapshots of a country where there is a possibility of women to make real advances. But these snapshots are only part of the picture. Looking deeper, they do not reflect the reality on the ground. Take the issue of women in academia, for example. The bachelor’s level is where equality ends. There are more women than men in universities, but fewer female professors. In fact, as the professional level rises, men outnumber women in increasing proportions, like an inverted pyramid. Men are promoted more and more, despite a larger pool of women. This obnoxious pattern has persisted for decades. Or take women in politics. Although the number of women Knesset members has increased gradually over the past 15 years, we are still below 30% female representation. What’s worse, on the municipal level only two out of the 230 cities in Israel have women mayors. It is an appalling statistic. And by the way, even though we have had several women heading the Supreme Court, all told only 10 out of 64 Supreme Court justices. The issue of women in the army is also a problem. Although the army has also been slowly including more women in coveted positions many of the most elite units are still all male. Women’s positions are also under tremendous threat from the pressure to conscript more religious soldiers – whose first demand is always to remove women’s presence. The army is reportedly building an all-male base, and already a few weeks ago women soldiers were asked to leave the mess hall when religious soldiers needed to eat. Get ready for more of that. All of this somehow makes sense to the army establishment. And that’s because in general there is an entire sexist culture in the army which assumes women to be weaker, lesser, not serious. My daughter, a Captain in Intelligence in the IDF, constantly tells me stories of the grassroots sexist culture she experiences. Sure, women can rise to certain places, but the sexism remains ubiquitous. This in turn affects the entire culture of women in business. Israel is heralded as a hi-tech haven, and yet women are systematically excluded from that world, where business relationships are usually culled from those elite army units where women are usually absent. Women head fewer than 8% of top hi-tech companies in Israel and are a mere 16.6% of board members all told. Women are often just not seen, like in the bestselling book...

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