The IDF is the world's most female-friendly army, statistics released Thursday showed. More than one third of the army's “enlisted men” are women, according to the IDF Spokesperson's office.
At 34%, the number of women in the IDF is the highest of any army in the world. The reason, of course, is because women are required to serve in the army, unless they serve in the National Service, as many girls from religious families do. According to many rabbinical sources, women are not permitted to serve as soldiers in uniform, and the National Service program gives them an opportunity to serve their country, working in hospitals, schools, and other institutions that are often short-handed.
Of all 18 year old females in Israel, the IDF Spokesperson said, 59% enlist in the IDF. Ninety two percent of all positions in the army are open to women (with only a few that require extraordinary physical strength off-limits). Women comprise 57% of the IDF's officer corps among regular soldiers, and 28% of career officers. Of the top officer positions (lieutenant and higher) women comprised 15% of the total officers.
There was notable rise in the number of female soldiers who were on duty during the recent Pillar of Defense Operation, as compared to 2008's Operation Cast Lead, the spokesperson said. More of those women have been serving in battlefield roles; over the past few years there has been a significant drop in the numbers of women assigned to secretarial and clerk roles, from 21% of all women serving in 2001 to just 13% in 2012.
The IDF Spokesperson's Office released the numbers in time for International Women's Day, to be commemorated on Friday.