Study: Chareidi Female Employees Get Paid Less, Work Less

Elbit and Intel buildings (foreground) at Matam (Scientific Industries Center), located at the southern entrance to Haifa, which is the largest and oldest dedicated high-tech park in Israel. Next to it is the IEC Tower. (Zvi Roger/Haifa Municipality)

Programs to train and employ chareidi women in technology-related areas have been a popular feature in the media, but the reality is that fewer than 1 percent of chareidi women who work are employed as programmers – while only some 4 percent work in tech altogether. And chareidi women who work earn substantially less than non-chareidi female workers for the same work – a monthly salary of NIS 4,900 versus NIS 6,600 for the non-chareidi workers.

The figures were revealed in a study by Dr. Neri Horowitz, a well-known researcher of the chareidi community. The results of the study, published in Calacalist, indicate that some 120,000 chareidi women work – 72 percent of all members of the community, giving them one of the highest employment rates of any group in Israel. Of those, 64 percent work in the public sector, in areas such as education and public health. Only 15 percent work in higher-paying private industries, including finance and technology. 4.500 work at jobs in the latter category, and only 1,100 work as programmers, the study showed.

In general, most of the chareidi women worked at lower echelons of the businesses or organizations that employed them. Of the 51,000 chareidi women who work in education – 42 percent of all female chareidi workers – only 1,000 worked in top administration positions. Of the 8,700 chareidi women who worked in retail sales, only 500 were store or sales managers.

Part of the reason for that is the fact that a large percentage of chareidi women – 43 percent – did not work at full-time jobs. Of those, 45 percent worked 34 hours or less per week. Among non-chareidi female workers, 73 percent worked full time. On average, female chareidi employees worked 28 hours a week, compared to 37 for non-chareidi female workers, the study showed.