Women’s Entry and Integration into Israel’s Legal Academia: History, Story, Non-Story and the Men(tor)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Based on semi-structured interviews as well as statistical data and archival materials, this chapter tells the story of the first female faculty members in Israel’s law schools, from both the individual and from the institutional points of view. The women interviewed include not only those who managed to enter the tenure track, but also those who started on the path, including those who served as research or teaching assistants, and dropped off along the way, whether they completed their doctoral thesis or not. Two seemingly contradictory narratives seem to emerge from the interviews: one describes a reality of equal opportunities where gender played no role, while the other presents a path overlaid by chauvinism and gender bias. This contradiction translates into a leading theme in our study, namely the pattern of early lack of gender awareness or recognition of discrimination, and later a hesitant acknowledgement. Another related theme is the seemingly unplanned career path, often attributed to external circumstances. A cross-cutting issue that came up in all the interviews, was the relationship with the mentors, all of whom were male, underscoring the gender question in this story. The interviews leave the impression that a number of women encountered such conduct that could only be described as prejudice against women, or at least against those who may have been openly feminist, or simply did not follow gender expectations. In addition to the strong weight of the mentoring element, the women had clearly gone through numerous gendered experiences throughout their professional paths, but just like the first female lawyers and judges, the gender element tended to be subdued in their narratives. Thus, while what seems a gendered story to the outsider, in retrospect, was often not experienced and acknowledged as such by the subject.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender and Careers in the Legal Academy
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing Plc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781509923137
ISBN (Print)9781509923113
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The editors and contributors severally 2021.


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