Israeli Women and Health


Publication Date: November 1999

Publisher: Hadassah International Research Institute on Jewish Women

Author(s): Susan Sered

Research Area: Health; Population and demographics; Social conditions

Keywords: Sexism; Health; Israeli Jews

Type: Brief

Coverage: Israel


The question that frames this paper is: Why does the life expectancy of Israeli women rank only 13th to 15th in the world while the life expectancy of Israeli men is among the highest in the world, ranked second or third, following only Japan, Canada, and Sweden? Why do Israeli women make so many visits to the doctor, why they are hospitalized so often, why they complain of so many chronic illnesses? The answers seem to lie in cultural patterns of gender rather than in the health care system itself. Research shows that two key factors are likely to be sexism, that is, the large power differential between men and women in Israeli society, and the relatively higher birthrates among Israeli women than among their peers in other Western countries.