Just One of Five Arab Women of Working Age Are Employed

Since 1970, the amount of Arab women in the Israeli work force has increased by 50%, but just 20% are employed today. That is less than one third of the rate for Jewish women and well below the 72% rate for Arab men, said a Tel Aviv University professor.

In 1970, only one tenth of the Arab women of working age held down a job, compared at that same time to 30% of Jewish women. Currently, the participation in the labor force of Israeli-Arab women is less than in Muslim nations like Oman and Iraq.

Amongst Arab women who have a university degree, there was a decline in the participation in the labor force between 1983 and 2008. The Masar Education Institute’s director Khaled Abu-Asba said that official figures showed that the educational investment per each Jewish pupil amounted to twice that for each Arab pupil. If other factors, such as quality of teachers, spending by the parents and physical facilities, are added in then the gap widens to nearly five times.

Officials in Israel said they had started working on closing the employment gap, as they know it is a difficult situation for the Arab community. Another area that has been critical to helping the employment prospects in Arab communities is the public transportation located in Arab towns.

Over the past couple of years, improvements have been made in attitudes toward hiring Arabs. Ads that feature an architect known as Walid Abu Karim have been featured on the television and following the first running of the ads, over 600 inquiries came in about the hiring of Arab workers.

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