Press Release

How are women faring in Israel's political arena?

How are Israeli women faring in the political arena? The number of female Members of Knesset (MKs) has more than tripled over the past two decades. There are now 34 female parliamentarians, bringing Israel in line with the OECD average of 28%. An IDI study indicates that women seem to be more productive legislators. From 2013 to 2017, female MKs had a success rate 37% higher than their male counterparts in passing bills. But there is still room for improvement: For example, in Israel’s 50 largest cities, only 17% of all municipal council members are women, and there is only one female mayor.

March 8, 2018---- As International Women's Day approaches, IDI reveals new data on the participation of women in Israel's Political arena: In the past two decades the number of women MK’s (Knesset Members) in Israel has more than tripled, rising from 9 to 34 female parliamentarians and bringing Israel in line with the OECD average (28%). Moreover, female MKs have proven to be more productive legislators - an IDI study shows that on average, female MK's had a 37% higher success rate of having their bills passed into law in Israel's 19th Knesset (2013-2017), than their male counterparts.

Percentage of Women MPs: Israel vs. OECD

If women do not become council members or mayors, this makes it much harder for them to subsequently make their way into national politics

Political Positions in Israel – distribution by gender

Still, -there is much headway to be made when it comes to female politicians at a municipal level. A current look at the 50 largest cities in Israel reveals that only 17% of all municipal council members are women, and Israel currently has only one female mayor—Miriam Feirberg-Ikar, Mayor of Netanya.

Number of Women MKs

A study conducted by Dr. Ofer Kenig, Avital Fridman and Shahaf Zamir found that around a third of female MK’s began their political career in local government. “If women do not become council members or mayors, this makes it much harder for them to subsequently make their way into national politics”, says Dr. Kenig.

According to Dr. Kenig, the government should create more incentives for local and national political parties to include women on their lists. A first step of this kind is due to be taken at the upcoming local elections this year, where The Knesset has amended the local election laws to award a 15% bonus in funding to municipal parties in which at least one-third of their elected councilors are women.

Cabinets Composition by Gender (February 2018)