The newest Israeli government has garnered global attention for its extremist ministers, harsh rhetoric, and proposed reforms on several fronts including security, religious pluralism, the judicial system, and the status of the West Bank. On International Women’s Day, there is one impact of this government that has largely flown under the radar in the diaspora. How will this coalition affect women’s rights?

It is already evident how the lack of women’s representation will shape the policies implemented by this male-dominated Knesset, which won’t be equipped to determine the real impact they have on women. Of the 64 members of the current coalition, only 9 are women compared to 24 in the previous government. Out of 31 ministry offices in this bloated government, there is not a single female director general, and of 31 ministers only 6 are women, and none in top positions. This is not particularly surprising since the two ultra-Orthodox parties don’t have a single woman on their slates and the religious zionist faction has only one, but it remains deeply troubling. To witness this type of government fifty years after Golda Meir was prime minister feels like ten steps backwards.

Without women in decision-making spaces there will inevitably be policies that hurt them. We are already witnessing how true this will prove to be. On the docket for the new coalition are policies to encourage gender segregation in public spaces and allow discrimination on the basis of religion, both of which have clear effects on women, particularly those who don’t abide by Orthodox standards of modest dress, but no piece of legislation will hurt women as much as the judicial overhaul that is taking place. This legislation will inevitably allow the aforementioned policies and additional moves to roll back gender equality in Israel.