The Gender Index 2017 Principal Findings – A Summary
The Gender Index now covers more than a decade of data: from 2004 to 2015. 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.
These findings indicate the enormity of the ongoing challenge we face with regard to promoting equality between women and men in Israel. One of the main causes of the stability of the gender gap and the moderate, if equivocal, trend towards decreased inequality, is the depth of the gap in the Labor Market domain. The gap is both deep and stable across all the indicators in this domain: labor market participation, pay, contract workers, part-time employment and the depth of segregation by profession. Likewise, the gender gap in the Power domain is the deepest and most stable across the years, though the political representation (women in government) indicator showed a decrease in gender inequality.
The only domain in which gender inequality actually decreased during the measurement period was Education: not only are there no gaps between women in men in number of years of study, but gender differentiation within education has shrunk over the years, i.e. women are acquiring education in more fields with a view to more successful integration in the labor market. This means that women are acquiring social capital in order to integrate into the public realm but are not managing to translate this into achievements in the labor market or narrowing the gaps in political and economic power. They are encountering structural and cultural obstacles that restrict their ability to do so.
The 2017 Gender Index – new features:
1. A new, expanded Periphery Domain: Based on new measurements and a new methodology, our research team was able to gather and combine different sources of data to create a new periphery domain, which is based on both the geographical distance of a community from the center of Israel and on socioeconomic factors. These combined sources provide a first of its kind picture of the gender gaps in the periphery of Israel.
2. Three new indicators were added to the Labor Market Domain to confirm our focus on precarious employment. These include: 1) the number of monthly salaries employees receive during the year (indicating the number of employees who are not employed throughout the year); 2) the number of people who work in more than one job simultaneously; 3) 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.
3. Our spotlight focus is the comparison between Jewish women and Arab women in various indicators.
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