Economy Minister Naftali Bennett has revealed his plans to strengthen and encourage the integration of women at the workplace.
The new regulations include grants and financial awards for employers deemed to be integrating women and parents into their workforce.
The Committee for the Advancement of the Women in the Workplace approved the regulations formulated by the Public Council established to examine the issue, led by retired Judge Dalia Dorner.
As of today's approval, awards will be given to employers that promote the employment of women , with an emphasis on changing business culture and fostering public awareness to encourage integration and promotion of women at work, and adapting jobs to parents who need greater balance between the family and the workplace. Awards will also be given to those employers who integrate women from population groups with greater barriers to inclusion and for increasing the number of women in senior roles and management.
Bennett made particular reference to the inequality in the Arab sector:
"Wages of women in the Arab sector are about two thirds that of men, with less than a third of working Arab women compared to men serving in management positions ."
Bennett turned to male employers and encouraged them to make the changes in the financial interest, pointing to a tremendous amount of unutilized potential and talent in the workforce.
" Do not be suckers," he said. "You will integrate women into senior positions and you will only gain - that's what I did and I still do."
According to the Ministry of Economics Research Administration, the rate of participation of women in the labor force in Israel has risen in the past three decades.
In 2011, 68.6 % of women of working age (18-67) participated in the labor force compared to 45.2 % in 1980. Labor force participation rate of mothers with children up to age four increased significantly from 41.4 % in 1980 to 70 % in 2011.
Despite the rise in the participation rate of mothers and women in the labor force participation rate is still lower than men (79.4 %). In addition, the Israeli labor market is characterized by a lack of representation of women in senior positions, lower wages than men doing the same work and over-represented in part-time roles.