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Only 18 women serve as Knesset members
Photo: Sebastian Sheiner
Photo: AP
Pakistan surpasses Israel in female parliamentary representation
Photo: AP
Women in politics: Israel ranks 66
Report reveals Israel ranks 66 out of 183 countries in list of female parliamentary representation; only 10 women have served as ministers since state was established
Israel's largest parties are vigorously courting women in a bid to persuade them to join their Knesset lists, but an examination of women's representation in Israeli politics reveals a very grim picture, according to Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronot.

 

A report published by the Israel Women's Network reveals large gaps between Israel and the world's most advanced countries regarding the issue of female integration into politics.

 

In 2004 Israel was ranked 66 out of 183 countries in an international list of female parliamentary representation - after European, American and Asian countries and only surpassing African and Arab countries.

 

Israel has only 18 female Knesset members compared to 102 male members signifying a 15 percent representation, despite the fact that the percentage of women in the Israeli population stands at a little more than 50 percent.

 

The report places Israel after countries like Mexico, Pakistan and Senegal. Scandinavian countries head the list with approximately 40 percent, while Arab countries are at the bottom with about six percent.

 

Affirmarive action bills proposed

 

Israel's situation is also grim when looking at the number of women holding a governmental position. Only 13 percent of ministers in the previous government were women.

 

Moreover, only 10 women served as ministers in the state's 30 governments since its establishment, including former Prime Minister Golda Meir.

 

The Israel Women's Network said in response to the findings that the inequality between men and women in Israel, realized in all areas of life, is even deeper in the political arena.

 

Social organizations have proposed a long list of affirmative action bills, which will obligate decision makers to grant women higher representation in political and public life.

 

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