(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Israel’s job market is anti-family and does nothing to support the equal division of parental responsibilities, according to Knesset Member Tzipi Hotovely, who chairs the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women.
Speaking at an emergency hearing of her committee in the Knesset on Wednesday, called to discuss the Israel Women’s Network (IWN) report released earlier this month for International Women’s Day, Hotovely addressed the key finding that women earn on average less than two-thirds of what their male counterparts do, even though they are overwhelmingly more educated.
“There are two central problems facing working women today,” Hotovely told the committee. “The first is breaking away from traditional ‘women’s’ jobs such as teaching and care-giving and moving towards ‘male’ professions.
“The second is that the job market is overwhelming anti-family and does not support the equal division of conjugal roles.”
According to the findings of the IWN report, women on average make only 64% of what men in the same line of work earn, with those working in sales jobs and services experiencing the greatest pay gap between men and women.
The report highlighted that in recent years, more than 60 percent of young Jewish women in Israel pass their high school matriculation exams, compared to only 50% of the boys, and that women make up more than half of those studying for a bachelor’s degree.
Yuval Mazer, a researcher for the Bank of Israel, pointed out at Wednesday’s meeting that the biggest pay gaps between men and women usually occurred between the ages of 25-40, when men develop their careers and women tend to focus on the home.
“This gap happens because men can work more hours and anyone who wants to achieve success at work must stay there for longer hours,” he said. “If we want to reach equality the only solution is to allow women to work more hours.”
“This is not a new issue,” IWN chairwoman Rina Bar-Tal told The Jerusalem Post
after the meeting. “The only way to improve the situation is to enforce existing equality laws, increase day care and to make work environments more ‘family friendly.’
“It should not be that a woman has to leave work every day to take care of the children; it should be a task that is divided between men and women,” she added. “Until that happens there will not be equality in the workplace or in salaries.
“This is an important social change [needed] in our consciousness,” continued Bar-Tal. “It is more important than passing new legislation or changing current laws.”
A spokesman for Hotovely told the Post
that she planned to delve deeper into improving the situation for women in the workforce, including a one-day conference to assess all the studies on the issue and see how other nations have addressed such inequalities.
The IWN report was published on March 8 at the United Nation’s
Commission on the Status of the Women Conference, or Beijing +15, which
looked at the achievements made by women worldwide since the Beijing
Declaration and Platform for Action 15 years ago.
That declaration set out guidelines for countries to advance equality, development and peace for the world’s women.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day was “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for all.”