Ultra-Religious Women in the Labor Market: Integration and Empowerment by Responding to Work Motives

Yael Goldfarb, Shoshana Neuman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The Israeli ultra-religious (Haredi) population is estimated at about 12% of the Jewish Israeli population, and is expected to more than double within two decades. The norm in a typical ultra-religious household is that the husband is fully devoted to the study of Torah, while his wife provides financial support for the family. The typical occupation of Haredi women is teaching at schools of Haredi girls — usually in parttime, low-pay jobs. This type of occupation matches their culture and is adjusted to their values, but has unfavorable consequences in terms of labor market integration, poverty, and economic status. We suggest a rather novel policy (borrowed from the field of Career Psychology) that could lead to more successful integration of Haredi women into the labor market, coupled with elevated job satisfaction and empowerment: The design of tailor-made training programs that respond to work motives; coupled with a working environment that caters to special needs; and complemented with counseling and monitoring. The suggested strategy is illustrated and investigated using a case study of Israeli ultra-religious young women. The motives behind their occupational choices are explored, based on data collected by a field experiment. Three types of motives behind occupational choice are discussed: (i) a “calling” motive; (ii) intrinsic/internal motives — the interest in work, as a means for self-fulfillment, and self-expression; and (iii) extrinsic/external motives that are related to receiving something apart from the work itself, such as a reward (income) or societal benefits. Based on the empirical findings, policy implications are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Economics of Religion
PublisherWorld Scientific Publishing Co.
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9789811273148
ISBN (Print)9789811273131
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Economic Empowerment
  • Israel
  • Job satisfaction
  • Low-Employability Populations
  • Occupation
  • Ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Women
  • Work Motives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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