Large Rise in Number of Women Serving on Israeli Government Panels

Negev and Galilee Development Ministry scores best on female representation on committees (75 percent), but Construction Ministry ranks lowest at 16 percent.

MK Stav Shaffir during a Knesset Finance Committee debate on October 28, 2014.
Emil Salman

There has been a substantial increase in the number of women serving on public committees in recent years, according to a new government report. In the five years between 2009 and 2014, female representation on panels rose from 23 percent to 40 percent (or 37.9 percent if religious councils are included).

According to the report, the top-performing ministries for integrating women are the Negev and Galilee Development Ministry (75 percent); Tourism Ministry (66 percent); and the Immigrant Absorption Ministry (59 percent).

The report also detailed the worst offenders. The ministries with the lowest representation of women were: Construction Ministry (16 percent); Agriculture Ministry (25 percent); Finance Ministry (30 percent); Transportation Ministry (31 percent); and Energy and Water Ministry (32 percent). Some of this information is from 2013, some from 2014.

In 2014, the Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women, part of the Prime Minister’s Office, won a staff award due to the increase in female representation. “The authority advocated a mechanism where, when a man’s candidacy is submitted as a director, it [can be] disqualified,” said Vered Swid, who heads the authority. “The authority advocated proper representation of women on panels and established a database of female candidates to be interviewed by the media.”