The Committee for Science and Technology held an additional meeting this past Monday about discrimination against chareidi women employed in hi tech, regarding wages. Committee Chairman Rabbi Uri Maklev said at the beginning of the discussion, "Whether there is outright discrimination or only contradictory facts, this issue must be dealt with in order to solve the problem."
According to Maklev, "There is a shortage of hi tech employees and there is an obligation to make the most use of the workers and their capabilities and not import computer programmers from abroad. Undoubtedly, there is a difference regarding the private sector and the public one. In the latter, there is no discrimination yet there still exists a problem in creating workplaces with the proper environment suited to chareidi women."
Rabbi Maklev also warned that despite government training programs for chareidi women, after the training for the public sector there is a requirement for experience in the field since the training is not sufficient. Sometimes, rules forbidding beginning work at an early hour so as to be able to leave earlier stands in the way of many mothers from being accepted for jobs or advancing in the field of public service jobs.
Mrs. Nitza Kleiner-Kassir, previously an investigator for the Bank of Israel, said at the meeting that the general scope of employment for chareidi women in Israel is about 75%, which higher than other countries of the OECD. Some 700-800 chareidi women are professionally trained in the programming field each year, with several hundred more in the seminaries. Some 5% of chareidi women are employed in hi tech but these figures are on the upswing. 44% of chareidi women in hi tech earn over 10,000 shekel, yet the wage of these women in the field is about 25% lower than the average.
According to her, they have difficulty in bargaining over the wage level because of their lack of experience regarding how to go about it and to whom to turn, as well as their fear of losing their jobs altogether.