Discrimination Against Women in Jewish Communal Field Outlined

Nine hundred delegates attending the 79th annual National Conference of Jewish Communal Service workers here, charged yesterday that employment discrimination against women was the prevalent practice in that field. A resolution adopted by the conference said that the readiness of Jewish communal agencies to employ women in top executive posts, remains grudging, reluctant and unwilling.

The resolution called on the leaders of Jewish communal agencies to examine their hiring practices, both explicit and implicit, for discriminatory patterns and to make a conscious effort to broaden the opportunities for women to fill decision-making jobs. The charge of unequal opportunities for women despite recent advances in women’s rights stemmed from a study of 319 communal agencies employing 2200 people, 54 percent of them women. It showed that in the job categories of executive director or assistant executive director, women held only 2.5 percent of the positions. Among male employees, 29 percent were executive directors, 23 percent assistant executive directors, 25 percent supervisors and 23 percent line workers.

Disparity in salaries was also revealed. The study disclosed that only 5 percent of women employees received salaries of $20,000 or more per years in contrast to 57 percent of the male employees. Of 1200 women covered in the study, only 10 (0.8 percent) held the top executive positions in their respective agencies and 45 were in the next highest category. By contrast, 71.5 percent were line workers.

The study covered five fields of Jewish communal service: federations; community centers; hospitals; family and social service agencies; and old aged homes. Women comprised 75 percent of the professional workers in the family and social service agencies but held only three of the top executive posts. Among 91 federations, there were only three women executive directors, in small communities. Federation staffs were 85 percent male.

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