More women join labor market

66.8% of women aged 18 to 64 participated in the workforce last year.

By SHARON WROBEL
March 7, 2010 23:38
2 minute read.
People stand in line at the Employment Authority.

unemployment 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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Although the participation rate of women in the labor force has been growing gradually, salary inequalities between women and men are still high, the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry reported Sunday, ahead of International Women’s Day on Monday.

“Over the past year, the participation rate of women in the labor market continued to grow,” Benny Pfefferman, the ministry’s head of research and economics, said in the report. “But at the same time, the rate of unemployment and proportion of forced part-time workers among women is still high compared with men.”

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In 2009, 1.35 million women, or 66.8 percent of women aged 18 to 64, participated in the workforce, compared with 1.5 million men, or 78.7% of men aged 18 to 67.

Although the female participation rate has been rising gradually over the past decade, women make up 46.5% of the general labor force while men account for 53.5%, the report said.

The ministry found that monthly salary differences between working women and men narrowed only moderately and were still relatively high. In 2008, for every shekel earned by men, women earned NIS 0.64, up from NIS 0.57 in the 1990s.

Last year, the average monthly gross salary for women was NIS 6,129, compared with NIS 9,590 for men.

The gender salary gap on an hourly basis was less because women work fewer average hours per week: 35.8, compared with 46.1 for men. Women earned an average of NIS 41.3 per hour, compared with NIS 48.4 for men.

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Women still occupy mainly traditional “female-associated” job areas such as teaching, office work, nursing and care-taking. In 2008, 78% of women workers were employed in “female” professions, earning an average monthly gross salary of NIS 5,497; only 22% worked in “male” professions, earning an average monthly gross salary of NIS 8,461, compared with NIS 9,938 earned by men in the same professions.

Salary inequalities still exist in the public sector. In 2008, 47% of female workers were employed in the public sector and earned an average monthly gross salary of NIS 5,973, compared with 19% of men who worked in the public sector and earned an average monthly gross salary of NIS 9,488.

Since the 1980s, the proportion of female managers among women workers has grown rapidly to 4.7% from 0.8%, compared with 8.8% among men. Women managers still represent only 31.7% of all managers employed in the labor market.

Last year, the proportion of women forced to accept temporary jobs was 26.6%, compared with 7.6% for men, the report said.

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