Government Defense Firms More Open to Army Women

In policy shift, women with army rank below colonel will now be included in database of candidates for defense company boards of directors.

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Women soldiers in the IDF.
Women soldiers in the IDF.Credit: Michal Fattal

In a shift in policy, women with an army rank below colonel will now be able to serve on the board of directors of defense-related government companies as candidates under consideration for their expertise – one of six categories of candidate. The change followed the candidacy of a woman who was a lieutenant colonel, one rank junior to colonel, and who got the backing of a Knesset member who argued that the requirement for women was unreasonable.

The female candidate approached MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) and explained that she had sought to be included in the database of candidates for defense company boards of directors, but was rejected because her military rank was “too low.” Lavie took up the issue with the Government Companies Authority and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, claiming the requirement that women have at least achieved the rank of colonel was unreasonable because only about 4% of colonels are female.

“The minimum requirements therefore create a clear impediment to women coming out of the defense establishment and are not in keeping with reality. The choice of the rank of colonel appears arbitrary,” wrote Lavie. In response, the Government Companies Authority said the rank requirement would not be a primary requirement for women, on the condition that women candidates meet other the criteria.

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