Ola Nabwani

Ola Nabwani

Associate Fellow
Ola Nabwani

Research Abstract

"Between Employment and Family Life in the Arab and Jewish Populations of Israel"

The Israeli labor market is characterized by inequality between Arab and Jewish women. The major hypothesis of this study is that the dimensions differ among and between the two populations with respect to the work-family conflict the women in these population face. Arab women experience greater ‘marriage’ and ‘child penalties’ than their Jewish counterparts, as well as greater penalties in the labor market, where they experience reduced participation, occupational attainment, and earnings. The purpose of our research is to compare the dynamic interrelationships between work and family for Arab and Jewish women with respect to three aspects: culture, opportunity structure, and government policy.

Our research is unique with respect to its comparative focus on different ethnic populations and non-professional workers, the research questions addressed, and the scope of the data to be covered. Large - scale data sets merged from respondents of the last two censuses will allow systematic analysis of the dynamics of family-building and labor market activity among Arab women. This data will be supplemented with the Labour Force Surveys (1995-2011) and a series of surveys from the Israel Social Survey (2002-2013), in order to provide information on household dynamics as well as attitudes toward gender roles.

Preliminary findings suggest that among the Jewish population, marital status does not play a key role in determining the labor market activity, whereas among Arab women it is critical, with married women having much lower odds of employment than single women. This differential finding suggests that the work-family conflict among Arab women begins immediately upon marriage, even before the birth of the first child. We expect our research to demonstrate to policy makers how to better integrate Arab women into the labor market. Integration on the economic level in a multicultural society has implications for further integration of different groups and better relations on other levels and in other areas between people and countries in conflict.

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