ACRI Cites Discrimination in Budgeting Women’s Sport in Israel

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) submitted a request to the Be’er Sheva Administrative Court to join as an “amicus curiae” (friend of the court) to a petition filed by Israel’s leading women’s soccer team from Be’er Sheva against budgetary discrimination.

Hapoel Be'er Sheva women's soccer team

Hapoel Be’er Sheva women’s soccer team (Photo: Hapoel Be’er Sheva)

Explaining its request, the ACRI has written: “… we noted that in Israel females are allotted just a quarter of the total annual government support for adult sports leagues, and only one-tenth of the total government support for youth sports. The budget of the Be’er Sheva men’s group is over 30 times that of the women’s group, and support for female groups has declined by nearly 200% since 2009.

“Participating in competitive team sports has proved especially effective for strengthening self-confidence, leadership skills, and social adjustment, but female youth and adolescents have relatively few opportunities and encouragement. The budgeting methods used today benefit male sports and veteran male sports leagues by giving weight to criteria based on popularity, such as ratings, public favoritism, brand exposure, etc. Beyond the municipal budget, men’s groups enjoy many other incentives: sponsorship, compensation for media exposure, and product marketing. Not only does the current budget not benefit the women’s sector, but it also, at best, maintains the status quo discrimination, and, at worst, increases the equality gaps. Women are also not adequately represented among decision makers and sports policy leaders, and constitute a mere 32% of members of the board of directors of Israeli sports leagues and associations.

“ACRI’s stance is that the attitude toward budgeting bodies must change — it is not enough to not to intend to discriminate, to be impartial, or ‘blind to gender.’ Local authorities and budgeting bodies must demonstrate that they are actively working to correct injustice and bias in the allocation of resources to females and act in favor of affirmative action.”