'Israel ranks fairly low on economic participation of women'

Israel has been ranked 35th by the recently released World Economic Forum (WEF) survey on gender gaps in employment, politics, education and health, but lower on the economic participation of women.

November 30, 2006 07:08
2 minute read.


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Israel has been ranked 35th by the recently released World Economic Forum (WEF) survey on gender gaps in employment, politics, education and health, but lower on the economic participation of women. "Israel ranks fairly low on the economic participation of women (46) and poorly on health (83), but displays strong performances on equality in education (35)," said the World Economic Forum's 2006 Global Gender Gap rankings report, which examines the gender gap between men and women in the areas of economic participation and opportunity; educational attainment; political empowerment; and health and survival. The report found that no country in the world had yet managed to eliminate the gender gap. The Nordic countries were the most successful in their efforts, however, with Sweden having closed 80 percent of its gender gap, followed by Norway (2), Finland (3), Iceland (4), and Denmark (8), Germany (5), United Kingdom (9) and Ireland (10). The WEF ranked 115 countries, creating a gender gap index according to which, the higher the ranking result, the greater the gender equality. At number 35, which is below the middle range of the index, Israel ranked behind Kazakhstan (31), Tanzania (23), the US (22), South Africa (18), and the Philippines (6). While on the other hand, Israel outranked Namibia (38), France (70) and Italy (77). Israel ranked 87 in the category of wage equality for similar work. Examples of gender gaps in Israel included GDP per capita for men of $25,969, compared with $14,159 for women. In top-ranked Norway, GDP per capita for men is $43,148 and $32,272 for women. Looking at participation in government, the survey found about 14% of parliament were women, while 17% of ministerial positions in Israel were held by females compared with 38% of MPs in Norway and second-ranking Finland; 33% in Iceland; and 32% in Germany. Fifth-ranked Sweden is the only country in the world where women outnumber men in parliament and government. In the corporate world, it was revealed that 71% of Israeli company managers and senior government officials are men. In contrast, in the Philippines, 54% are women and 46% are men. Separately, a new study by the Bank of Israel showed that the average wage gap between women and men in the public sector greatly narrowed from 1990 to 2005. In the early 1990s, the average salary of men was 17-20% higher than the average salary of women, but since 2001 there has been almost no difference in the average starting salary between men and women, the study found. During this period of time, men's real wage on joining the public sector rose by only 5%, while women's wages rose by 27%. According to the Bank of Israel research, this narrowing was the outcome of a rapid increase in the number of female students in tertiary education, as a result of which the proportion of women entering relatively highly paid occupations rose constantly. Looking ahead, the study forecasts that the considerable drop in the differential of men's and women's starting wages in the public sector will be reflected in a 30% drop in wage gaps in the public sector 10 years out.

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