Study: Israel ranks 21st in gender equality

Ahead of International Women's Day, a study ranks Israel 21st of 59 countries that promote gender equality in the workplace.

March 4, 2013 17:00
1 minute read.

Religious IDF women. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


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In terms of gender equality, Israel ranks 21st out of 59 advanced economies, according to a study by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) released by the Federation of Israel Chamber of Commerce on Monday, ahead of International Women’s Day on Friday.

Countries such as Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, Japan and Belgium came out ahead of Israel, while as Greece, Luxembourg, Turkey and Brazil, among others, lagged behind.

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Women’s equality and economic participation are tightly linked to economic success. In 2011, then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton summed up the concept in a speech to the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

“By increasing women’s participation in the economy and enhancing their efficiency and productivity, we can have a dramatic impact on the competitiveness and growth of our economies,” she said.

When it came to the number of women in management positions, IMD ranked Israel at a respectable 7th place.

In 2012, the number of women in management positions grew 1.3 percent, though the percentage of women working in management was only about half of their Y-chromosome- bearing brethren (5.4% as compared to 10.6%).

The data showed that the number of female employees registering as “independent” rose 7% in 2012, but that women still only comprised 31% of all independent workers in the country. The Central Bureau of Statistics showed that in January, women made up 43.5% of the labor force in Israel.

Women in the workforce were moving toward positions requiring education, with a 4.3% increase of women in positions such as teachers, professors, doctors and lawyers, versus a 5.3% drop in the number of women in more menial positions, such as cleaning, delivery and security guards. In 2012, women working as secretaries increased 11%, and women working in agriculture increased 4%.

That’s a promising development, given that Israel has near-gender equality in educational attainment; the ratio of women to men in Israeli educational attainment is 0.994, according to the most recent UNDP Human development indicators.

Yet, the IMD ranking, extracted from data that compares countries on business factors, may be incomplete. The 2012 World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, which incorporates economic opportunity, education, health and political empowerment, placed Israel 56th in the world, and showed Israel to be fairly stagnant in terms of gender equality since 2006, with only a 1.5% improvement in the six-year span.

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