Days after Karnit Flug was nominated to be Israel’s first female bank chief, the results of nationwide municipal elections show that women still have a way to climb to reach equality in local halls of power.
In Israel’s 11 largest municipalities, which have between 2.8 and three million residents, just 16.2 percent of municipal council positions were won by women in Tuesday’s vote.
According to political analyst Tal Schneider, who compiled the figures, the list of municipalities represents “a massive part of Israel’s population, who live in supposedly pluralistic cities. [Yet] this broad population is represented by 84% men and 16% women.”
The figure for the 2013 local elections is nearly unchanged from that of the 2008 elections, which resulted in 16.3% women in Israel’s 11 largest cities.
The results were not uniform. In some places, especially Jerusalem and Petah Tikva, women’s representation in the city council dropped precipitously: Jerusalem fell from eight women council members out of 31 (or 26% of the council) to just four (13%), and Petah Tikva from four women out of 27 (15%) to just one (3.7%).
In Haredi Bnei Brak, no women were elected to the 23-member council in either 2008 or 2013.
But some areas showed an improvement in women’s representation, with the largest growth taking place in Tel Aviv and Beersheba.
Tel Aviv jumped from eight women on the 31-seat council in 2008 (26%) to 11 in 2013 (35%). In Beersheba, the figure rose from five women (18.5%) on the 27-member council to eight (30%).
In all, in Israel’s 11 largest cities, 49 women won seats in 2008 out of 299 available spots. By 2013, the total available council seats rose by eight to 307, but representation of women rose by just one, to 50.