The proportion of women in chief executive positions among the country's 500 leading companies increased by 1 percent in 2006 over the previous year, but the preference of men being placed at the top of the management of Israel's largest companies is still the reality.
"Despite the dramatic increase of educated and skilled women and their integration into the work force taking up senior positions, there is still a significant preference for men and in many places women are still being considered as having a lower socioeconomic status than men," said Tehila Yanai, co-CEO of Business Data Israel, commenting on the research company's annual profile survey of the Israeli CEO in the top 500 companies.
The BDI survey found that in 2006, women made up 4.3% of all CEOs in the top 500 compared with 3.4% a earlier. Among the female examples are Galia Maor, CEO of Bank Leumi; Yehudit Bronicki, CEO of Ormat Technologies; Dr. Judith Richter, CEO of Medinol; and Smadar Barber Tzadik, who recently was appointed to replace David Granot as CEO of First International Bank of Israel.
However, when compared with the proportion of female CEOs among the US Fortune 500 leading companies list, it was found that the rate of female CEO in Israeli companies was double the rate in the US, which stood at 2% in 2006.
The survey showed that the average general manager of the leading 500 companies was 54 years old in 2006 - a year older in comparison to 2005 - held a second academic degree in economics and business management, was the father of three children and lived in the center of the country.
Of the 500 local companies, more than 50 saw their CEOs changed last year; the most prominent were at Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries, where Shlomo Yanai is replacing Israel Makov, and at the Israel Electric Corporation, where Uri Ben-Noon replaced Yaacov Razon.