International Women's Day: Number of female IDF soldiers rose by 170%

A record 46 women were serving with the rank of colonel in the IDF in 2021, compared to 39 in 2020.

Female crews will operate a Merkava IV tank near Egyptian border as part of final test in pilot program (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Female crews will operate a Merkava IV tank near Egyptian border as part of final test in pilot program
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

The General Staff of the IDF met on Monday to mark International Women's Day and discuss how to optimally utilize female capital in the IDF and improve gender equality.

The Gender Affair Advisor to the Chief of Staff, Brig.-Gen. Ella Shedo Shechtman, presented the forum with a snapshot of women's service in the IDF. The commander of the 8200 intelligence unit, Brig.-Gen. Y., presented the gender strategies used by the Military Intelligence Directorate to utilize human capital.

Shai Levy, CEO of the Amdocs software company, reviewed methods for promoting gender equality used by businesses.

Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi welcomed the great progress made within the IDF in recent years in utilizing the military's female capital, while also addressing the challenges still facing the IDF on the road to gender equality. Kohavi ordered that a comprehensive plan to address these challenges be presented to him within six months.

The number of female soldiers in general rose by about 170% in the past seven years. The number of female soldiers serving in clerical positions has fallen by about half in the past two years.

Sergeant Hannah Solomon, who made aliyah from London and now serves in the Bardelas mixed gender combat battalion. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)Sergeant Hannah Solomon, who made aliyah from London and now serves in the Bardelas mixed gender combat battalion. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

A record 46 women were serving with the rank of colonel in the IDF in 2021, compared to 39 in 2020.

The percentage of female officers reaching the rank of major also grew in the past five years from 25% to 29%, while the number reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel rose by about 30%.

The IDF is also developing and continuing many dedicated programs to expand the number of women serving in technological units.

In the last draft year, women made up about 40% of all recruits who entered technological units, an increase of about 8% compared to the previous draft year.

"In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of women serving in core and combat positions in the IDF, and I welcome that," Kohavi said. "Increasing the percentage of women in all positions will improve the quality of the IDF."

The chief of staff stated that the military will be holding a hackathon in the near future to find solutions that will allow women to serve in a wider range of roles.

"The IDF must also serve as an example and role model in the field of women's service, and the commanders must lead the change and deal with it personally," he said.