Reduced Inequalities

SDG 10- Probe & Improve – Part 2

Read Part 1 

In Part 1 of this series we focused on the status of reducing inequalities (SDG10) in employment particularly as reflected in recent critical government reports. In this segment we’ll expand on this issue as seen by independent sources.

Let’s pick up where we left off with a study carried out by the Adva Center with support from the Ministry of Science and Technology – and recently reported on by “Haaretz” – concerning the status of Ethiopian-Israeli women in the labor market during the period covering 2018-19. The report shows that Ethiopian-Israeli women continue to suffer a very low entry point, limited promotion opportunities, lower salaries, lack of familiarity with the job market and a general difficulty with finding employment. They also face mistrust on the part of Israeli employers.

The Ethiopian-Israeli community’s employment reality has changed significantly – in some areas for the better – during the past few decades. For example: in 1995 – when many Ethiopian-Israeli women were recent immigrants who didn’t know Hebrew – 20.3 percent of the community’s working-age women were employed; this jumped to 69% in 2011 and 75.1% in 2016  – a bit more than the employment rate among all Israeli women.

Probe & Improve - Part 2 - SDG 10 - Social Impact Israel

Adva’s findings reinforce data previously reported (including here). The Economy Ministry’s Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) has regularly emphasized the ongoing challenge in the job market faced by Ethiopian-Israeli women – both first-generation immigrants and those born in Israel – who earn less than other Jewish women in every employment area.

According to the “Haaretz” report, the EEOC points the finger at employers having little faith in these women’s abilities. In this context, the report also quotes the Israeli civil society organization Olim Beyahad – which aims first and foremost to help excelling Ethiopian Israelis who hold university degrees integrate into the forefront of the workforce – as saying: “We’re offering engineers [to employers], and these are offered jobs as maintenance workers.”

Challenges faced by Ethiopian Israelis do not begin and end with the job market, of course. Indeed, the State Comptroller’s Office – a body independent of the government, answering solely to the Knesset (parliament) – recently issued a scathing report regarding continued over-policing of Ethiopian Israelis (while also pointing to a 64% drop between 2015-19 in the incarceration rate of minors from the community). The Public Security Minister, the Israel Police and the Justice Ministry’s Anti-Racism Unit all condemned the over-policing phenomenon and committed to increasing efforts to fight it.

Not much good news here. But recognizing the problem is the first step to overcoming it.

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