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Did You Know?

Israel engineers are behind the development of the largest communications router in the world, launched by Cisco.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

When it Comes to Education, Solid Marks for International Women’s Day

To mark International Women’s Day, Israel’s Central Bureau for Satistics (CBS) released a report on the status of women in the Israeli workplace and society. Some of the most telling figures come from advances in providing world-class education to all Israelis. To that end, a woman’s ability to access higher education and achieve in the academic setting matches, if not exceeds, their male counterparts in Israel.

In secondary school (high school),over 65% of women graduate with a diploma, compared to 50% of men.

When it comes to qualifying to attend university, women outpace men by about 8 percentage points, according to CBS. For schools with an Arab-Israeli majority, there is actually a higher discrepancy between women and men – 56% of Arab-Israeli women graduated with a diploma last year, compared to only 38% of men.

It’s when we look at higher education do the numbers really shine. Out of 298,098 Israelis pursuing higher learning last year, 167,908 were women, or 56.3%. Compared that to a few decades ago in 1970, where women only accounted for 43%. In fact, last year, women were a majority in all levels – undergrad, graduate schools, and PhD programs. Israeli women also attend law school in higher numbers than men. If you were to walk into any biology class at any level in Israel, you’d find women outnumber men by about 2:1, as two-thirds of students in biological sciences are women.

If education is the key to unlocking doors in the workplace, than these numbers truly do echo across all sectors in Israeli society. In 1990, only 39.7% of those working in academia were women. Now, that number is approaching equality, at with almost 48% of professors, university staff etc. being women.

The share of female managers in Israel has skyrocketed, doubling since 1990 when it was only 16%. Now, 34,3% of professional managers in Israel are women (Israel21c has a great article on this for IWD, Israel’s top 10 female executives). An equal number of high-tech workers are also women, meaning that the “Start Up Nation” is far from being an all boys club.

There’s still much work to be done, as no country on earth has achieved perfect gender equality.  Israel is a young country with a very young society, but with further investment in providing equal access to education, we’re one step closer to our vision of equality outlined in our Declaration of Independence.