Arab girls stroll freely in Israel. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Arab girls stroll freely in Israel. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The world marks International Women’s Day on Sunday and Israel is participating with the proud knowledge that it is a country that provides freedom and equality for women – on par with other Western countries, and far greater than other Middle East societies.

A summary from the annual report of Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) shows that women play a vital and leading role in all facets of Israeli life, including 57.8% of people employed in academic professions in 2014 who are female.

At the end of 2013, there were 2,986,000 women aged 15 and up living in Israel. Women 65 years of age or older constituted 11.8% of the total female population, compared to 9.4% among the male population.

• Life expectancy at birth in 2013 was 80.3 years for men and 83.9 for women.

• In 2014, the percentage of women in the work force who were unemployed was 5.9%, similar to that of unemployed men.

• The hourly wage of Arab women was higher than that of Arab men by 6.1%. Part of the reason is that the average educational level (years of study) of Arab women is higher than that of Arab men.

• Women constituted 57.8% of people employed in academic professions in 2014. Women constituted 32.8% of workers in management positions. In high-tech, 35.5% of employees were women.

• Students: In the 2013-14 academic year, there were 312,500 students in various institutions of higher education in Israel; 57.3% (179,200) were women. In contrast, in 1969-70 women constituted less than half of the students (43.3%).

• Social aspects: 86% of women expressed satisfaction with their lives, similar to the percentage of men, and 51% of women were satisfied with their economic situation.

• About 1.6 million women had driver’s licenses in 2013, 43% of the total number of licensed drivers in Israel. Approximately 7% of the female drivers in Israel were convicted of driving offenses, compared to 15% of male Israeli drivers.

On the other hand, there are countries in the Middle East that ban women from driving all together.

Women in the Palestinian Authority (PA) do not enjoy the progress that has been made regarding equality and women’s rights in the Western world.

The PA systematically oppresses women socially, economically and politically, as a report by the Jerusalem Institute of Justice shows.

While Israel is a democratic society and its female population has equal opportunities, in the Palestinian Territories, Gaza and the surrounding countries, there is continuous government-authorized discrimination against women.

These are some of the issues facing women living under Hamas and Palestinian Authority today, as shown by the Jerusalem Institute of Justice:

By: United with Israel Staff

(With files from the Central Bureau of Statistics)