Female doctor left off advertising for new HMO clinic in ultra-Orthodox area

Pamphlet celebrating opening of clinic in Beit Shemesh features images of men only, avoiding picture of woman doctor

Haaretz, Israel/May 20, 2014

Ahead of the opening of a new clinic in Beit Shemesh, Meuhedet Health Services has published a new pamphlet  in which images of men are featured aplenty, but women are nowhere to be seen.

The pamphlet, titled ''Meuhedet –  the secret of success,'' includes a section devoted to introducing the clinic's medical staff, in which each doctor gets a page extolling their virtues and professionalism, Ynet reported. But while the male doctors' pages all feature images, the clinic's sole female doctor receives her praise with no photo attached.

Not only female staff are left out of the pamphlet, whose cover features a rosy-cheeked boy wearing a skullcap. Women are nowhere to be seen throughout.

Attorney Rabbi Uri Regev, CEO of Hiddush – Freedom of Religion for Israel, demanded that the HMO shelve the pamphlets, and called on Health Minister Yael German to "issue regulations which will impose deterring fines on HMOs and other health institutions over the exclusion of women.

"The gender equality principle," said Regev, "applies to health maintenance organizations as well, and the disgraceful exclusion of women is an intolerable and illegal policy."

Meuhedet Health Services defended the gender imbalance when quizzed by a Ynet reporter. The booklet, they said, is being issued "for a certain clinic whose public is only ultra-Orthodox, and because we respect our clients and their lifestyles, the booklet does not include photos of women, and this does not lessen our respect for the women doctors."

"Because these women work at the clinic, they know that this does not lessen their professionalism or our pride in them."

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