In this chapter we examined the status of kibbutz women in the neoliberal era in the second decade of the twenty-first century. We draw on the approach of Nancy Fraser, whose ground-breaking research indicated three key parameters for analysing the gender order: societal recognition of what is understood as ‘womanhood’ and ‘feminine’, gender-based redistribution of resources and the representation parameter (Dahl, Stoltz and Willig 2004; Fraser 1995, 2000). We found that in the spheres of recognition and redistribution, gender borders have grown somewhat less rigid, but without significantly altering the social order. In the field of representation, we noted a process that may change the map of representation in the future and could therefore affect recognition and division. We also discussed factors that are likely to cause change in the field of representation.
As a dimension of the transformation of the original kibbutz model of intentional community, this chapter deals with key aspects of the changes in the perceptions of work and employment, the development of entrepreneurship in local households, and the impact of these changes on the socio-economic features of the kibbutz space. The fluctuations in the national economy, combined with the decline in the intensity of ideological identification with kibbutz values among the third and fourth generation, led to existential, economic, demographic, and social pressures that contributed to changes in kibbutz employment practices and types of businesses. These changes reflect the need for survival strategies in the kibbutz’s socio-economic system, both at the community level and at the level of individual families. The discussion of this chapter focuses on recent studies and surveys, and describes the changes that have taken place in various areas of work and entrepreneurship as a result of the transition from a severely socialist setting to a society much closer to neo-liberalism. It considers the differential implications of these changes on kibbutz members’ working world. The changes confront the kibbutz with existential questions concerning its very essence.