The Gender Index 2015 Principal Findings – A Summary
The Gender Index now covers a whole decade of data: from 2004 to 2013. This enables us to emphasize its major finding: despite slight fluctuations over the years, there has been no significant improvement in gender inequality in Israel for over a decade. Furthermore, the slight decrease of inequality that occurred in recent years in the Arab Society, Poverty, and Power domains is derived in part from a general deterioration in employment conditions for both men and women and not from an improvement in women’s situation.
It should also be noted that despite the improvement, the depth of inequality across all domains remains high (59%), particularly in the Power, Labour Market, and Gendered Segregation of Professions domains. These findings indicate the enormity of the ongoing challenge we face with regard to promoting equality between women and men in Israel.
The only domain in which gender inequality decreased significantly during the measurement period was Education: not only are there no gaps between women and men in the number of years of study, but women are also acquiring education in more fields with a view to more successful integration into the labour market. This means that women are acquiring human capital in order to integrate into the public realm, but they are not managing to translate this into achievements in the labour market or narrowing the gaps in political and economic power.
The 2015 Gender Index – new features:
An estimation of the magnitude of Inequality in various domains: This is a new platform that makes it possible to compare domains and rank them according to the degree of gender inequality they evidence. It can be used to identify the mechanisms that give rise to inequality in each area and guide prioritization in decision-making processes.
A new domain: Time. This domain was added to the existing ten domains of the Index. The Time domain addresses a central issue in understanding the division of labor between women and men – How is time divided in a household that comprises both a man and a woman in regard to work and family time; public and private time? Currently in Israel no data is systematically collected on such issues, therefore, we had to use alternative indicators, which measure the allocation of leisure time (vacation in Israel and abroad), Volunteering, and the time women dedicate to domestic obligations.
Three new indicators were added to the Index: Employee Benefits (in the Labor Market domain); Gender Segregation in Higher Education (the Education domain); Feeling of safety while walking in the street (the Violence Against Women domain).
Gender Mainstreaming as a Guiding Strategy: GM strategy is applied using three principal tools: Representation: Adequate representation of women at every decision-making juncture. This principle can also be applied to the labor market as well as to the apparatus for the allocation of budgets and resources. Integration of gender perspectives into decision-making: adequate integration of women from a variety of social groups into policy discussions pertaining to issues on the public agenda. Gender-oriented examination of policy implications: It is necessary to examine the implications of every new policy for women as well as for men, and at times to reevaluate existing policy in this light. Policy that is adopted without the prior assessment of its gender implications may inadvertently result in the widening of gender gaps. State Intervention in the Relationship between the Labor Market and the Family:
A change can be generated in the gendered relationship of parenting (the private realm) and the public realm of money and power through the systematic equation of the value allotted to activities in each of these two spheres
Examples: Shortening the workday, which might increase women’s participation in the labor market on the one hand, and promote increased men’s participation in parenting and recreation on the other. Extending parental leave to six months, two of these specifically for the father (which are canceled if not used), might contribute to the creation of a healthier work/family balance. Development of Gender-Sensitive Databases: The national database in Israel is still incomplete and there are many glaring lacunae: For example, there is no Time Use Survey – a major tool for understanding the differences in the division of time between women and men; there is no breakdown by gender in key areas such as political representation in local government, health statistics, violence against women and men, and more. Systematic gathering of such data is essential to understanding the gender gaps and developing workable means for their reduction.
The responsibility for implementing these policy recommendations falls on all parts of the system. These suggestions are directed, first and foremost, at the senior decision-making echelons and those responsible for implementing government decisions, but they should become an integral part of the process at all levels and at all stages of policy design and implementation.
Principal Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations