Two Knesset panels push to boost women’s roles in academia

Over the next five years, the Treasury will allocate NIS 10 million to implement recommendations of the Arnon report.

July 20, 2016 04:22
1 minute read.
The Hebrew University

The Hebrew University. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Though women constitute a majority of university students, they comprise only 29 percent of senior academic faculty, according to experts speaking Monday at the Knesset Science and Technology Committee in a discussion on how to improve the situation.

The session, held in cooperation with the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, began with the awarding of an award to the outgoing president of the Israel Academy of Science and the Humanities, Prof. Ruth Arnon. An outstanding scientist and role model for women, Arnon wrote a report on increasing the number of women in university and college faculties.

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Science Committee chairman MK Moshe Gafni and Status of Women Committee chairman MK Aida Touma-Sliman congratulated her for her efforts. Arnon said the lack of women in senior teaching and research positions was a loss to academia and the economy, and hoped changes would be made to help them to be better represented.

Science, Technology and Space Minister MK Ofir Akunis introduced various measures taken by his office to promote women in academia. “Both in Israel and around the world, there is a need for promoting and strengthening women in academia. I see that my visits to schools that studies of cyber, robotics, chemistry and physics are mostly filled by boys. This can and will change. We are building the next generation of women scientists.”

Akunis said steps will be taken in the Council for Higher Education and its planning and budgeting committee to promote women in academia. Academic institutions are now asked to send in reports on the gender dimension in various activities, including recruitment of women for the faculties.

Gender will also be taken into consideration when scholarships are handed out.

Over the next five years, the Treasury will allocate NIS 10 million to implement recommendations of the Arnon report, and universities and colleges will be judged by indicators on how well they carry them out. Another joint committee meeting on the subject will be held in the winter session of the Knesset.

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