The official guidelines written in the year 2000 and repeated in a directive from the general manager of the ministry in 2015, specify schoolbooks must portray both male and female roles in an egalitarian manner, free of stereotypes though the criteria on which on which to base these guidelines, are not specified.
The RIC report points to a lack of data regarding gender related questions, available to ministry officials. The report states "no in-depth study on the question of gender representation in schoolbooks has been conducted since the early 2000's
The RIC report points to a lack of data available to ministry officials stating: "No in-depth study on the question of gender representation in schoolbooks has been conducted since the early 2000's".
Data that is available, dates back almost two decades and shows females are given traditional roles in the home. In 96% of the 130 books reviewed had stereotypical portrayal of women. in the Jewish religious sectors and the Arab sector, portrayal of women shows them modestly dressed, appearing mostly in drawings and not in photographs and much less often than boys and men.
The Israel Women’s Network (IWN) a non-profit organization advocating for gender equality, responded to the RIC study findings with outrage, claiming the findings of the study show there is still a long way to go, to promote equality in the education system in Israel, and adding that it is unacceptable, that for almost 20 years, there has been no serious review of gender portrayal in schoolbooks and boys and girls are exposed to harmful stereotypes.
IWN also say diminution of women in schoolbooks is inconsistent with 2019 standards in society and the Education Ministry should regard these findings as a wakeup call, to ensure children in Israel are exposed to an appropriate education on gender that will bring about a more tolerant and egalitarian society.
The education ministry stated in response: "most books referred to in the study are not within the ministry's purview. Since the ministry began to relate to gender education in schoolbooks, we've improved however the appropriate branch in the ministry will examine the findings in this study and it finds cause, will make the necessary corrections.