Hamutal Rogel / Counselor of Israel’s Embassy
In the Netherlands, in 2008, the deputy Prime Minister Wouter Bos announced that he would work four days a week and that he would dedicate the fifth day to take care of his son. “And nothing happened”, Hamutal Rogel remembers. The Counselor of Israel’s Embassy concludes that “if you want, you can”, as we talk about Women’s Day.
This debate should be over by now, but this is not the case, right?
We always have to talk about women’s rights. Even if we are in the 21st century and we live in the western world, we have not achieved equality yet.
Is there a wage gap in the diplomatic world?
It depends. It is related to the work carried out by women in the diplomatic world. In the case of Israel, between a woman and a man that do the same, there is no difference. However, there is inequality if we consider different labour categories. In the Israeli diplomacy, in general, 60% are men and 40% are women. But if we go to the category of heads of mission, there are only 20% of female ambassadors.
How is this gap, found in the labour category and not in the wage one, solved then?
With a positive discrimination. It is true that, as heads of mission, the percentages are low. But female heads of department are already 40%. And they are the next generation to be ambassadors or directors general.
Is it necessary to address equality as a battle?
It is just that these processes need a little battle. Although the western world believes in equality, the society is still a little sexist. Women who want to be successful must play according to the rules of a men’s world: work schedules, availability at all times. This has to be changed. Nobody said these rules are the best. For example, I am not sure that we are more productive if we work 12 or 14 hours.
Would, a compulsory paternity leave, for example, help to change those rules?
Sometimes things are just left as ideas. Women’s rights, the right of men to take a paternity leave… We have to work so that the society assumes these ideas. If women have to act according to the sexist system, all of us lose.
Does a female diplomat have to give up many things?
In this world, we all have to pay something. As a women and mother, I always need more time at home and at work. I am never relaxed.
Traditionally, women are the ones following their husbands. Has this been your case?
My husband has been the one having to give up things. He pays a much higher price than me. He pays twice: with his work, which he has to stop every time we leave, and with the social pressure he bears if he does not develop his career.
Is the treatment among diplomats different if they are men or women?
No. There is great professional respect. But there are anecdotes. If I go with the ambassador and I am the only woman, somebody can be mistaken and think that I am the ambassador’s secretary. It happened to me a couple of times.
Would diplomacy be better if there were more women?
Diplomacy would be better, medicine would be better… All jokes aside, it is not that women are better than men, but we have other qualities. We are different and we have different perspectives and ways of working. It would be better for all of us that equality started growing. But this is not a 50-50 balance. That would not be a balance.
Is it about getting organized?
Once women join these careers more, men can also be liberated and dedicate more time to their families. Almost no middle class family can live with just one source of income. That requires both members of the couple to work, the entire family having to organize. There is no other way.