The Gender Index is an innovative tool developed by WIPS – The Center for the Advancement of Women in the Public Sphere, which serves to evaluate gender inequality in Israel across a spectrum of fields over time. The 2017 Gender Index is based on the calculation of gender inequality in Israel in twelve key domains: education, the labor market, gendered segregation of professions, poverty, power, media and culture, health, violence against women, time and family status; as well as gender inequality in the periphery and gender inequality in Arab society in Israel.
The Gender Index’s contribution lies in its systematic examination of data in a variety of spheres over several years, to provide an overall depiction of the state of gender inequality in Israel.
The Gender Index takes into account aspects of gender inequality that address issues of diversity and deep social structures of inequality, such as Arab society, gendered segregation in the workforce, and violence against women.
The Gender Index is a tool to develop public discourse and awareness regarding the varied expressions of gender inequality. Furthermore, as a monitor of the status of women in Israel, it is a powerful tool for evaluating Israeli state policies and
The most significant finding of the Gender Index is that the gender inequality situation in the last year of measurement (2015) is almost identical to that in the first year of measurement (2004). Despite slight fluctuations over the years, there has been no significant improvement in gender inequality in Israel for over a decade except in the domain of higher education.
A certain decrease of inequality is particularly evident in three domains: Arab Society, Poverty, and Power (Political and Economic). However, this decrease 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 this slight improvement, the depth of inequality across all domains remains high and stable, particularly in the Power, Labor Market, and Gendered Segregation of Professions domains.
In order to expand our understanding of the gendered structure of the labor market, we added in the 2017 Gender Index a focus on Precarious Employment through several new indicators. These include the number of monthly salaries employees receive during the year (indicating the number of employees who are not employed throughout the year); the number of people who work in more than one job simultaneously; and the rate of employees who earn less than the minimum wage. Combined together, these indicators depict the increasing precariousness of the labor market and working conditions in the current economy. This new data reveals and strengthens our understanding that a precarious labor market negatively affects and harms women more than it does men.
An in-depth examination of these data: decreased inequality in Education versus stasis in Power and Labor Market, yields two principal insights: the first is that although women are investing time and effort in acquiring the tools for integration in the labor market, segregation within higher education is still deep, and this is one of the main causes of gender inequality in this domain. The second, non-contingent, insight is that we need to seek an explanation for the gender gap in the deep structure of the Labor Market, which does not take the domestic realm into account. This structure is in large part a function of the gendered distribution of roles with regard to home and family care. It negatively impacts women’s ability to achieve positions of political and economic power. Women are perceived as secondary in the labor market, trespassers in a realm that is not theirs. Hence, the responsibility should not be placed on women alone, but on society as a whole.