Report: Israel Lags Behind in Gender Pay Equality

(Nati Shohat/Flash90)

An OECD report on inequality in pay between genders places Israel in a poor position. Israeli women earn 76 agurot (22 cents) for every shekel (28 cents) earned by a man, less than the OECD average of 86 agurot per shekel (in equivalent currency terms). The wage gap in Israel between men and women is 78 percent, more than in the U.S. (81 percent) and Germany (83 percent), but slightly better than in Japan (74 percent).

The wage gap for Israeli women has not changed substantially in the past years; the OECD report released last week reflects the situation between 2010 and 2015. During that time, Israel slid behind perennial inequality “leaders” including Mexico, where women earn 17 percent less than men. Much improved in recent years, and ahead of Israel, is Turkey, where the wage gap is now just 6 percent. The poorest performing countries are India, where women earn 58 agurot, and South Africa, where they earn 60 agurot, compared to a shekel’s pay for a man.

The report stressed that the situation in Israel was unique; Israeli women are among the best educated in OECD countries, which should account for a smaller wage gap. 19.5 percent more females finish high school in Israel than do males; in OECD countries that figure is 11.9 percent. 59.5 percent of all holders of bachelors degrees in Israel are women, compared to 58.2 percent on average in OECD countries. And 49.8 percent of all holders of doctorate degrees here are women, compared to the OECD average of 47.4 percent.

Israel also came in at the bottom of the OECD chart for the number of businesses owned by women. According to the report, 6.1 percent of men in the Israeli economy own businesses; for women, that figure is only 1.5 percent. The OECD average has 5.6 percent of businesses owned by men, and 2.3 percent owned by women.

In addition, Israel is among the poorest performers when it comes to women in top positions. For example, only 26.7 percent of Knesset members are women, while in OECD countries that average female membership in a national parliament is 28.7 percent. Similarly, 18.1 percent of members of boards of directors in Israel are women, compared to 20 percent in OECD countries, the report said.

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