While countries around the world will mark International Women's Day on Sunday, new figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics reveal Israeli women have little to celebrate.
The CBS data shows massive pay gaps between male and female workers, with women averaging a monthly salary of 7,280 shekels to the 10,683 shekel average for men – a staggering difference of 32 percent. Among the self-employed, the gap rises to 40 percent.
Part of the disparity results from the fact that women work fewer hours than men, but the gaps remain even after wages are calculated per hour. The only demographic in which women earn more than men – per hour – is among Arabs, because Israeli Arab women are more highly educated than the men.
Aside from the wage gap, the report included other disappointing figures showing the dismal lack of progress on gender equality in Israel – for example, women comprise only a third of managerial-level positions. Also, in a country dubbed the "Start-up Nation" women only make up a third of the high-tech workforce.
In another sign of the slow pace of reform, a third of Israel women are still employed in "traditional" roles in the childcare, retail, administrative, and education sectors.
Alongside the gender disparities in pay, the CBS figures present a changing picture in the female demographic with women marrying later (at 25 in 2013 as opposed to 23.4 two decades ago) and having children at an older age (27.5 compared to 26.3 in 2003).
At institutions of higher education, women make up a majority of bachelors' students (57%) and masters' students (60%). Females make up a large majority of students in education but are underrepresented in mathematics, physics, computer sciences, engineering, and architecture.
On the other hand, women – who make 43 percent of Israeli drivers – are cited for traffic violations at a much smaller rate (23%), involved in fewer accidents (26%), and rarely at the scene of fatal crashes (11%).
Women also constitute only 8 percent of all convictions in Israeli courts.
Despite the pay gaps, a social survey conducted by the CBS discovered that they were just as satisfied with their lives as their male cohorts (86%). Additionally, more than half were satisfied with their financial situation and 44 percent said they were in "very good" health.
However, women reported feeling more stress than men (30% to 24%), have more trouble sleeping due to stress (22% to 16%), and experience depression more often (10% to 7%). Given the wide wage gaps, one could see why.