Is International Women's Day a Happy Day for Israel's Women?

Crossposted from Haaretz.

At 32, Likud’s Tzipi Hotovely is the youngest Knesset member; she was raised on religious Zionism. An attorney by profession, she takes part in right-wing ideological battles. But she also wears another hat as head of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women. In the run-up to International Women’s Day today, a series of bills designed to benefit Israeli women were proposed — and most of them shot down — by the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee. She spoke recently with Mazal Mualem.

Mazal Mualem: Is this a happy day for Israel’s women?

Tzipi Hotovely: The trend is always one of improvement, though there is still a lot of progress to be made in women’s rights, and we’re still far from the equality we seek. We’re in the midst of a week in which the social workers’ cries have been heard; their struggle reflects the sad situation of women’s salaries, as more than 90 percent of social workers are women. This can be seen also in other professions staffed by women such as teaching and childcare. In professions in which women are dominant, salaries are much lower, and public battles are fainter because, I’m sorry to say, women are still considered secondary wage-earners.

The work world creates the dilemma of career versus family for many women. This is one of the goals of the committee I head: to provide relief for working women by making daycare more accessible to more sectors of the population. It hasn’t yet happened, unfortunately, and as long as childcare expenses are higher than salaries, we’ll see more women staying home.


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Is International Women's Day a Happy Day for Israel's Women?

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