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Well, It’s a Start: Israel Provides Incentives to Hire and Promote Women

Well, It’s a Start: Israel Provides Incentives to Hire and Promote Women

Women in the United States are familiar with the fact that we get paid less than men do for the same work — 23 cents less for every dollar, as a matter of fact. We also know that we might be turned down for jobs because we have kids, so employers think we have no time for a job, or because we don’t have kids so employers see us as heartless and unfeeling.

In many places around the world, the statistics about women in the workplace are much worse, and Israel is no exception, though they have seen a rise of participation in the workforce in the past few years:

In 2011, 68.6 % of women of working age (18-67) participated in the labor force compared to 45.2 % in 1980. Labor force participation rate of mothers with children up to age four increased significantly from 41.4 % in 1980 to 70 % in 2011.

Even though the amount of Israeli women in the workplace has been rising, women are still paid less than men, given mostly part time jobs, and are not given senior positions at the same rate as men. Economy Minister Naftali Bennett has now made it his goal to strengthen the involvement of women in the Israeli workplace. He solidified this goal by passing a new law that will give incentives to employers who employ and promote women and will help parents better balance their work lives and home lives. The Committee for the Advancement of the Women in the Workplace approved these new regulations on Monday, taking a huge step in the country toward equalizing women’s rights in the workplace.

According to Bennett, “Wages of women in the Arab sector are about two thirds that of men, with less than a third of working Arab women compared to men serving in management positions.” He also continued on to say that employers who promote women to senior positions will only benefit.

Though these measures are being put in place to combat sexism in the workplace and to incentivize the promotion of capable women who have been held back solely because of their sex, there are sure to be detractors. As with any program that gives incentives to promote or accept people, detractors will state that women are being promoted only because they are women rather than because of their merits. However, this is an important step for Israel to start leveling the playing field at work by asking employers to look past their biases and give women the opportunities they have so often been passed up for even though they have more than proven themselves capable.

In a perfect world, we would not need regulations like these. However, our world is far from perfect when it comes to women’s rights — especially in the workplace. I hope to see these new laws making a huge difference in Israel not only in helping women get and keep high-level jobs, but also in strengthening their workforce and economy. Perhaps the United States will find they have a thing or two to learn from Israel about women in the workplace.

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Photo Credit: The Israel Project

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69 comments

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12:17AM PDT on Sep 20, 2013

Israel is thinking about the status of its women, and this is a welcome development.

As a Jewish woman, I believe that Israel has a right to exist as a democratic mostly Jewish state. That said, Israel is far from perfect. The West Bank settlements, the apartheid treatment of the Palestinians, and the undue influence of the Orthodox all grieve me. I just have to remember that no country is perfect. A good look at the history of any country will reveal atrocities.

The only solution I see is the establishment of a secure Palestinian state living in peace with a secure Israel. Anyone who can help to make this a reality needs to be encouraged.

7:43PM PDT on Sep 17, 2013

Thanks for the information.

10:34PM PDT on Sep 16, 2013

There shouldn't be the need for incentives to hire women. However, I suppose this could be an attempt to promote change. I'm not sure.

3:11PM PDT on Sep 16, 2013

Sorry polit-Israel - but this is a disgusting and "aryan" thinking; don't complain about the negative propaganda.

Take a look at this organization, reported by the Times of Israel. It’s a hotline that has just been launched in Israel enabling members of the public to inform on Jewish women who are dating Arab men “so that they can be persuaded to end the relationship”.

“If you are in contact with a goy and need assistance, press 1,” is the first option offered by the service, which continues by asking callers if they wish to inform on others.

“If you know a girl who is involved with a goy and you want to help her, press 2,” the voice recording says.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/hotline-lets-callers-inform-on-jewish-arab-couples/

11:53AM PDT on Sep 16, 2013

To K.E. - let me try and answer.

A while ago I flaged a comment as inappropriate because a participant was associated with Nazi-like behaviour (which didn't sit right with me at all - not only because the participant was defending a very valid point and was right) and I said so openly. I was then told that this is normal and OK as at times discussions get a bit rough and nobody else took offense.

So I assume correctly that for the very same reason Frank's comment has not been taken down. Rightfully so if we're to apply equal standards for all.

11:49AM PDT on Sep 16, 2013

ty

6:43AM PDT on Sep 16, 2013

OK

6:41AM PDT on Sep 16, 2013

thanks

6:14AM PDT on Sep 16, 2013

How is it that Frank M's reference to Israel as Nazirael has not been taken down over the last 48 hours (comment 13)? Whether or not you agree with everything Israel does, the characterization is extremely offensive and not one I would expect from a community trying to foster communication.

5:55AM PDT on Sep 16, 2013

all we have to do is to make equality commonplace and just stop treating people as if the color of their skin, their gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs is justification for treating someone badly.

And we need to unite and stop discrimination where we see it.

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