Experts call for progress in women’s employment
Problem is that women pursue "feminine jobs" such as teaching and nursing, which have lower salaries, says IDC’s Tali Regev.
LEFT TO RIGHT: Yafit Alfandari, Ilana Fahima, Dr. Tali Regev, Vered Pear Swid, and Ina Soltanovich-D Photo: Danielle Ziri
While more women than men study in Israel’s higher education system, they are
not as present in the job market, according to panelists at the Herzliya
Conference on Tuesday speaking on the economic resilience of women.
session, which was moderated by Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya’s dean of law
Prof. Sharon Rabin-Margaliot, included female speakers from the different
backgrounds of economics, academic research and government
Opening the discussion, Yafit Alfandari, the head of consumption
in the finance sector and coordinator of gender statistics at the Central Bureau
of Statistics, presented some data about women employment in Israel in
comparison to the other OECD countries.
Alfandari explained that the
country is ranked in the bottom section of OECD nations in terms of women’s
participation in the job market. This is also the case for Israeli men, but it
is only due to the fact that a large portion of them belong to the haredi sector
and do not work.
Israel also lags behind in terms of women serving in
While on average one out of two women in OECD
countries works as a manager, in Israel only one out of three occupies such a
“Women who work still remain the primary caregivers at home,”
Dr. Tali Regev of IDC’s School of Economics said at the panel.
who works won’t take on responsibility that interferes with her responsibility
at home,” she added. “The average man doesn’t jump on the opportunity to do the
laundry, wash the dishes or change diapers.”
Regev explained that while
women’s family responsibilities may be one of the reasons why they are less
present in the business world, another problem exists, namely that women tend to
lean toward “feminine jobs” such as teachers and nurses, which, she said, are
jobs that are less valued in society.
“The problem is that in these jobs
that are considered feminine, you also earn less money,” she
Vered Pear Swid, the head of the Authority for the Advancement
of the Status of Women at the Prime Minister’s Office, said during the session
that the subject of women’s economic status concerns both men and
“Every dad, when his daughter graduates from college, wishes, like
his wife, that her salary will be equal, whether it is in the public or private
sector and that there won’t be any obstacles or glass ceilings and much less
concrete or steel ones that exist across the world,” she stated.
also said that the phenomenon of the glass ceiling can be prevented by fighting
certain social norms.
“We have to educate towards this. We have to
start choosing, from when they are very little, what stories we tell, what
movies we show them on television,” she explained.
Vice President of
Human Resources at Teva Pharmaceuticals Ilana Fahima explained that she sees the
gap between women and men at work as an opportunity for improvement.
job as a society is to take the opportunity, and the potential that exists in
women, who are a very educated social group, and our challenge is to diminish
the gap, create more availability and presence of women at work,” she told the
Panelists also spoke about women’s representation in
influential government positions and called for the Knesset to advance women in
Speaking at a different panel, Brig.- Gen. (res.) Eival
Gilady, the chairman of Western Galilee College, said there was a “quiet
revolution” happening in Israel’s universities.
“72% of the Arab students
are female,” he stated. Figures released last week by the Central Bureau of
Statistics put the figure closer to 67%.
That trend has a huge impact on
Arab society, he said, explaining that the households of educated women look
very different than others. Such households were more likely to resemble a
typical Tel Aviv home, with women bringing in more wages and giving birth to
Niv Elis contributed to this report.