Israel’s Supreme Court OKs Gender-Separate Higher Ed, Nixes Ban On Female Teachers

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Israel’s Supreme Court on Monday ruled that gender-segregated courses in higher education are legal, upholding the policy of the Council for Higher Education.

Petitions against gender-segregated classes were filed in 2017 by several organizations which claimed that the practice is “unconstitutional.”

However, the court ruled that the policy of barring female lecturers from teaching male-only courses is discriminatory and women must be permitted to teach male or female classes. Additionally, the ruling applies only to undergraduate programs, which means that gender-segregated classes in advanced studies are illegal. At least one advanced studies program with gender-segregated classes already exists – Michlelet Orot in Elkanah.

The judges also ruled that it is illegal to enforce gender separation in all public spaces on campuses and universities.

Justice Chanan Melcer wrote that he doesn’t accept “the claim that any gender segregation in universities and colleges violates the fundamental right to equality.”

“Most students studying in gender-segregated tracks choose to do so out of their own free will, in accordance with their religious views that support gender segregation as a way of life,” he wrote.

“Even if there is a certain violation of equality in this arrangement, it is worth it for the purpose of integrating the ultra-Orthodox population into academia, and largely meets the tests of proportionality.”

Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg of Meretz esponded to the ruling by praising the court for putting a “limit on gender segregation although unfortunately, it did not completely abolish it. There will be no exclusion of female lecturers, there will be no gender segregation outside the classrooms and there will be no separation beyond the undergraduate degree. The alarming increase in segregation has become the norm in recent years, and it is good that the Supreme Court has set a limit.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


6 COMMENTS

  1. “The alarming increase in…” … in religious people – No, “…the Supreme Court has set a limit…” will NOT be able to set a limit increased religious observance!

  2. they’ve been demanding years endlessly including on the infinite number of modern Orthodox blogs for the ultra-orthodox to join the workforce and to join colleges
    however it all was a ploy

    “you have to join on our terms only
    we’re not coming to meet you even halfway
    just allowed as much to snare you in and after that you have to completely immerse yourself in our culture”

    In a nutshell

  3. Wise, common sense decision. No one is harmed by allowing those who prefer prefer single gender classes to have that option, especially given that it will not divert resources from regular mixed-gender instruction.

  4. RRD: Whether you agree or not is irrelevant; there are a growing number of frum young men and women who prefer to obtain an education so they can support their families and not spend their lives begging for charity from the government. Perhaps that is upsetting to some but this decision assures that for those who want the option of studying for a degree while doing so in a single gender classroom can do so.