Survey on Women

NEW YORK, NY—A 1981 follow-up survey on the “status of women in Jewish communal service” conducted by the Conference of Jewish Communal Service (CJCS) reveals that, since the original survey’s findings were publicized in 1977, “the vast majority of women (remain) in the lower professional levels of employment in Jewish communal service and appear to have very limited access to top executive and administrative positions.”

Both the 1977 and 1981 CJCS surveys were based on data for over 2,000 professional staff members in 273 agencies including Federations, Jewish community centers, family and child care agencies, homes for the aged and hospitals. The 1981 survey was prepared by Sophie Engel, CJCS vice president, on behalf of the Committe on Opportunities for Women, chaired by Jane Rogul. Its conclusions were reported to the CJCS executive board at the organization’s annual conference in Kiamesha Lake, N.Y. in June 1981.

The survey indicates a slight increase in the number of women serving in executive director and assistant director positions (from 5% in 1977 to 8% in 1981). Yet 92% of the women surveyed were in the lower two job categories—32% in supervisory positions and 60% as line staff. In contrast, 45% of the men surveyed held positions as executive directors and assistant directors, while the remainder were evenly distributed among the other four professional job categories.

According to a CJCS, press release, the different job distribution patterns for men and women, “seem to indicate a general pattern of advancement from one level to another for the men, but the same pattern does not appear to hold true for the women.” In addition, 72% of the women surveyed earned less than $20,000 a year, compared with only one-third of the men (the 1977 figures were 95% of women and 43% of men in the below-$20,000 category.) Only 3.5%of the women, as compared with 38% of the men, earned $30,000 a year or more. Even more striking is the fact that average salary rates in all categories were lower for women than for men, and no women were represented in the $50,000 and above range, in which there were 4.9% men.

The survey concluded that, “The goal of achieving greater equity in opportunities for women should be the concern of men and women in the Affiliated Professional Associations of the Conference of Jewish Communal Service. Improved personnel standards for women will benefit all professionals.” The CJCS announced that its president Gerald Bubis, would appoint a special task force to consider strategies for improving the position of women in Jewish communal agencies.