The IDF Women’s Affairs Advisor participated in this year’s conference of the NATO Committee on Gender Perspectives. Representatives of other militaries showed particular interest in the IDF, due to women’s mandatory military service in Israel.

Representatives of foreign militaries are increasingly seeking guidance from the IDF in facilitating gender equality and preventing sexual harassment, as Israel’s military is recognized as one of the world’s most advanced in this regard.

Furthering the IDF’s egalitarian efforts, Women’s Affairs Advisor Brig. Gen. Rachel Tevet-Wiesel participated in this year’s annual conference of the NATO Committee on Gender Perspectives. The conference, held May 27 through 31 in Brussels, Belgium, served as a meeting place for representatives of many foreign militaries, most of them European.

IDF Leads the Way in Gender Integration

IDF Women’s Affairs Advisor Brig. Gen. Rachel Tevet-Wiesel. Photo: Hagi Hershfield, Bamahane magazine.

Brig. Gen. Tevet-Wiesel found that the representatives of other nations’ militaries expressed interest in gender integration within the IDF, particularly due to women’s mandatory service in the Israeli army.

“Great interest and appreciation were noted, as well as a desire to learn about the way in which the perspective on gender plays out in the IDF, as the only military in which there is mandatory service for women as well [as men],” the IDF Women’s Affairs Advisor wrote in a document summarizing the conference.

During the conference, Brig. Gen. Tevet-Wiesel recalled, she informed the other representatives that roughly one third of all non-reserve IDF soldiers are women – a statistic that elicited many questions from the other participants on gender integration in the IDF.

“Voluntary militaries often look at women as less desirable and inferior to men,” the office of the IDF Women’s Affairs Advisor explained. “Our experience is better because service for women is required, and therefore we strive to expand equal opportunities for recruitment and placement, and to empower women’s [military] service through a variety of roles.”

The IDF stands out among the world’s militaries for the high representation of women in the its ranks. In addition to requiring women to enlist in its ranks, the IDF boasts high participation of women in command roles.

Thirty-four percent of those serving in the IDF are women, including 23 percent of all officers and non-commissioned officers. Ninety-two percent of the IDF’s jobs are open to women.