Arab women an haredi man in Jerusalem 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Arab women doubled their workforce participation rate between 1970 and 2010, but
they continue to lag behind their Jewish female counterparts in this area, the
Bank of Israel said Tuesday.
The central bank published its study one day
after the International Monetary Fund recommended in its annual report on Israel
that more steps be taken to increase Arab and haredi (ultra-Orthodox)
employment. The IMF proposed improving basic child care, transportation and
education in Arab communities, removing impediments to business establishment
and strengthening enforcement of labor regulations.
About 20 percent of
Arab women were employed in 2010, compared to just 10% four decades earlier,
according to the report. This corresponded with a three-fold increase over the
same period in the average number of years Arab females study – from 3.3 to
The significant education divide between Arab and Jewish women was
bridged over the past decades, but the gaps in the participation rate actually
widened, the Bank of Israel researchers found. This led them to suggest that
other factors such as culture, discrimination, lack of guidance, daycare and
public transport accessibility are preventing Arab women from entering the
“Where education levels increased, the chances of finding a
job and a higher wage also grew,” the report said. But it added that single
women and divorcees were more inclined to participate, suggesting that cultural
barriers are less restrictive to them, and that their households depend more on
female income than the households of married women.
recommended a number of measures be implemented, including: the establishment of
employment guidance programs in Arab towns and schools; introduction of
professional training courses; subsidization of childcare and after school;
provision of public transport to Arab communities; and cracking down on
The Prime Minister’s Office, Industry, Trade
and Labor Ministry and Joint Distribution Committee will authorize Wednesday the
establishment of 21 employment centers for the Arab, Druse and Beduin
communities over the next three years. The centers, which will cost NIS 200
million to build and will be operated by Arabic-speaking local residents, will
aim to help job-seekers find suitable employment.
workforce participation rate of minority communities is one of the government’s
central aims,” Ayman Saif, director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office
Economic Development Authority for the Arab, Druse and Circassian sectors, said.
“These centers will supply the necessary foundations for achieving these aims,
by providing a central employment address which is currently missing in minority
According to the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, 47%
of participants in programs operated by existing state-run employment centers
found employment, while another 21% enrolled in professional training or higher
education courses. About 60% of participants said the centers helped to
strengthen their motivation, self-confidence and job-search skills.