Study Shows Majority of Women in Jewish Communal Service Have Limited Access to Top Positions

A 1981 follow-up study on the status of women in Jewish communal service has found that the majority of these women has limited access to top executive and administrative positions, and that little has changed since the initial study on the status of women was conducted in 1977, it was reported here today by the Conference of Jewish Communal Service (CJCS) which conducted both surveys.

The two surveys were based on personnel data of more than 2,000 professional staff in 273 agencies, including Federations, Jewish community centers, family and child care agencies, homes for the aged and hospitals. The 1981 survey was prepared by Sophie Engel, CJCS vice president, on behalf of the Committee on Opportunities for Women and presented to the executive board of the CJCS at its annual conference last month at the Concord Hotel, Kiamesha Lake, N.Y. Jane Rogul chairs the CJCS committee.

While the survey shows a slight improvement in the number of women in the two top executive categories — from 5 percent in 1977 to 8 percent in 1981 — the great majority, 92 percent, are in the two lower job categories with 32 percent in supervisory capacities and 60 percent as line staff. Comparison with the levels achieved by men show sharp differences. Almost half the men, 45 percent, are in the top two executive slots.

WOMEN EARN LESS THAN MEN

The survey also found that women communal workers earn less than males. Almost three-quarters of the women earn less than $20,000 a year, whereas one-third of the men fall in that same category. In 1977, 95 percent of the women, as compared with 43 percent of the men, earned less than $20,000.

In the upper salary brackets, only 3.5 percent of the women, as compared with 38 percent of the men, earn $30,000. Further, the report noted that women do not reach the top salaries achieved by men. No woman is reported as earning over $50,000 and only a few are in the $40-$50,000 bracket.

Additional comments from the report explained that while there has been some improvement for women in Jewish communal service “there is still a wide gap between levels achieved by men and those achieved by women in relation to position and salary. The opportunities for career advancement and for higher earnings are evidently better for men than for women.”

GOAL IS TO ACHIEVE EQUITY

The 1981 survey noted that “Although the coverage is by no means complete, it is sufficiently broad and diversified to provide comprehensive documentation in four major fields of service.” For this, the survey continued, “the Committee on Opportunities for Women is deeply indebted to the Council of Jewish Federations and the Jewish Welfare Board for their cooperation in making their personnel data available.. Confidentiality as to the agency identity was maintained as summary statistics were provided in a coded form.”

The survey concluded by noting: “The goal of achieving greater equity in opportunities for women should be the concern of men and women in the Affiliated Professional Associations of the Conference of Jewish Communal Service. Improved personnel standards for women will benefit all professionals.”

It was announced that a special task force will be appointed by Gerald Bubis, president of the CJCS to formulate a plan of action to correct the inequities documented by the survey.

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