This article deals with the question of why the labor force participation of Arab women in MENA region is the lowest among women from all other areas in the world by comparing three Arab Middle-Eastern groups in Israel—Mizrahi Jews who originated in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Muslim Palestinians, and Christian Palestinians. The article starts with a description of the differential treatment of the three Arab groups by the state, and then explores the impact of this differential treatment by analyzing official statistical data. The analysis shows that the pace of change in employment rates has been much slower among the two Palestinian groups than among Jewish women. The findings highlight the role of the state in determining the destiny of various groups. The state pressured Jewish women to enroll in modern institutions, providing them with better education and more work opportunities than offered the Palestinians. Comparing groups that shared a similar patriarchic culture at the outset but that evolved along separate routes thus demonstrates the importance of state policies in determining women's social standing.
- Female labor force participation
- Mizrahi women
- Palestinian women
- State gender policy
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)