Stats: Women may outnumber men, but still not equal

Ahead of Int'l Women's Day, CBS report show females still earn only two-thirds of what members of opposite sex earn.

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March 8, 2011 03:02
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Women 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Women in Israel might outnumber men, but they have not reached equality in the workplace or in society, annual data published Monday by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) ahead of International Women’s Day on Tuesday has revealed.

At the start of 2010 there were 2,788,800 women aged 15 or older living in Israel, compared to 2,654,625 men, the figures show.

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While the number of women compared to the number of men increases with age – in the over 65 set there are 91 men for every 100 women and over the age of 80 there are 68 men for every 100 women – the overall division between males and females here is fairly balanced compared to most European countries.

In Israel, there are roughly 98 males for every 100 females while, in Europe the ratio is 92:100.

This, however, is where the equality between the sexes ends. Though the gaps between the two genders have been reduced over the past decade, women in the workplace are still not equal to men.

Two reports published by the CBS for International Women’s Day, as well as statistics from Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, show that despite a large rise in the number of women with academic degrees and a huge increase in women of all sectors joining the workforce, women still earn roughly 66 percent of what their male counterparts earn, with the average gross monthly income for men in 2009 standing at NIS 9,526 compared to NIS 6,280 earned by women.

While the situation has improved over the last 20 years – in the early 1990s women earned 57% of men’s salaries – the CBS highlighted that in 2009 the work force grew by 20,500 men and 46,700, with women accounting for 69% of the overall growth.



Part of the difference, explained the author of one report, is the result of women working fewer hours than men. Men worked 45 hours a week while women worked 36 hours a week. However in calculating income by the hour, the discrepancies in pay are still clear, with men earning NIS 50.4 an hour and women NIS 42.6.

The data also showed that the risk of women falling below the poverty line was far greater than for men, with 30% of women aged 18-64 at risk of becoming poor. In addition, the number of women turning to social welfare services is higher – roughly 180 women out of 1,000 receive assistance from social workers compared to 157 men out of 1,000.

The data also measured public attitudes towards women, family and the workplace, with 84% of the public agreeing that both partners should contribute to the household income and 80% saying that if both spouses work then household chores should be divided.

However, the majority (76%) also pointed out that family life interfered with men’s working hours and 70% said they believed that young children often suffer when a mother works.

In terms of striking a balance between work and home, however, women seemed to fare better. Forty-three percent of working mothers said they struggled with balancing home life and work, compared to half of the men and only 30% of working women said they felt they did not dedicate enough time to their children, compared to 45% of men.

The CBS data showed that Israeli women lived longer and healthier lives compared to women in other member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and compared to Israeli men. The average Israeli woman lived until 83.5 years in 2009, while Israeli men made it to 79.7 years. Jewish women tended to live a little bit longer (83.9) than Arab women (80.7).

Israel is ranked 12th in the OECD’s life expectancy tables, comparable to women in Norway and Iceland but still 3.1 years behind Japanese women.

Although International Women’s Day has been observed since in the early 1900s, it is generally agreed that international observation of this day was first marked in 1911, making this year its centenary year.

In 1975, March 8 was designated as International Women’s Day and it has since been marked globally by events saluting women’s efforts to achieve equality in all aspects of life.

Among the events Tuesday to mark the day in Israel is a march to protest rape and sexual violence against women, poverty, unemployment and sexism, being organized by 14 women’s rights groups. The Tel Aviv march will start at 4 p.m. at Sderot Rothschild and Herzl Street.


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