Even today, the Israeli society remains a more traditionalist one that perpetuates gender roles in the house. Family, care and domestic responsibilities are still not equally shared, making it difficult for both men and women to balance employment and private life. Men work longer hours than women, averaging nine hours more per week, and are prevented from sharing parental duties. Women often prefer shorter working hours and are given limited promotion opportunities. Women, more than men, are expected to reduce their working hours and are forced to leave the workforce to carry out parental duties. Israel is ranked as one of the four OECD (The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries with the highest gender related wage gap. The average monthly salary of women in Israel is 68 percent, compared to the average hourly wage of 85 percent for men.
The IWN believes that only an equal and fair workforce for all workers will allow the gender wage gap to decrease through giving women the ability to advance in the workforce and men the opportunity to participate in the household and family life.
The goal of the Mind the Gap project is to create a long term vision for a fair and equal labor market in Israel, defining the policy steps required to achieve it. The project works to alter the social and legal sources of wage and status gaps between men and women in the labor market, focusing on five goals:
1) Shortening the total working hours in the labor market and creating gender-neutral arrangements for working parents.
2) Reducing gender segregation in the labor market and raising the wages and status of women-dominated professions.
3) Removing the unique obstacles facing minority women in Israel.
4) Achieving social recognition of the economic value of "Invisible Work" (household work and childcare that is not paid and almost exclusively done by women).
5) Changing the present retirement arrangements in order to reduce high inequality rates among Israel's elderly population.
In the framework of the project the IWN promotes policy towards increasing transparency and feminist employment norms, alleviating discriminatory employment practices and implementing standards of gender equality in the Israeli labor market. The IWN advances family friendly employment standards, which take into account the needs of workers with families and allow them to reconcile their private and workplace responsibilities at all stages of their lives. The IWN raises public awareness to the gender pay gap, working parents’ rights, and creating wide public support in the implementation of feminist employment standards for the benefit of both men and women in Israel.
The project has produced a report concerning Israel's early childhood education and care policy. To read more press here
To read about the project's report concerning parental leave for fathers press here