The government should provide financial support to families with two working parents and young children, a Bank of Israel report released Monday urged. According to the report, subsidization of half of child care expenses would increase the percentage of women in the workforce from 63 to 67 percent.
In a country in which child care expenditures average more than a quarter of the mother’s salary, families struggle to make ends meet and new mothers have little incentive to return to work after giving birth.
In the short term, the proposed subsidies would help reduce poverty, reduce educational gaps, and increase working hours, according to the report. In the long term, the Bank of Israel suggests, having more women working will lead to more children integrating into the workforce in the future.
A community project called Hayozma founded last summer also aims to help women with young children earn a living, Haaretz reported. The private initiative, located in Kiryat Tivon just outside of Haifa, allows mothers to bring their young children to work with them.
The fledgling project gives mothers simple work to do in a communal environment. Each of the mothers minds all the children once a week while the other women work. During school vacations, they bring their older kids to work with them. But the women who participate in Hayozma earn only a low daily wage.
Israeli women still earn only 66% of what men in comparable positions make, according to data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics for International Women’s Day on March 8. Furthermore, 68% of those who earn minimum wage or less are women.