Tel Aviv stock exchange.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Women make up a remarkably small proportion of CEOs and board chairmen in companies traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, according to a study conducted by BdiCoface and released Sunday in honor of International Women’s Day.
Overall, women accounted for just 6 percent of all CEOs and 3% of board chairmen.
In the nine sectors in the study, women’s representation in both the CEO and chairman category each exceeded double digits just once or twice. Women comprised 19% of CEOs in finance and insurance companies, and 14% in media and communications companies.
They also accounted for 14% of board chairmen in hotel and tourism companies.
In all the categories where women broke double digits in one of the measures, they were wholly absent in the other; there were no chairwomen in finance or media companies and no women CEOs in tourism businesses.
The low levels of female representation at the highest levels of business represented a “badge of shame for the economy and the publicly traded companies in particular,” said Tehila Yanai, a co-CEO of BdiCoface.
Some prominent companies, however, are led by women, including Bezeq, with CEO Stella Handler, and Melisron, with chairwoman Liora Ofer.
Because the study looked solely at companies on the TASE, it excluded some prominent companies such as Tnuva and Intel Israel.
Many important Israeli companies are either subsidiaries of foreign corporations or are traded on foreign exchanges.
Yet the lack of female leadership was somewhat confounding to Yanai, who noted that companies led by women, on average, fared better than companies led by men.
That result, she noted, may have to do with companies being more open to fully utilizing the human capital in their work forces and pushing diversity, which has also been shown to be financially beneficial.
The study also looked at women leading law firms, and noted that their numbers increased by half in four years. Even so, the figure only amounted to 15%.
“The position of women in the business world is getting better and better over the years, and we see more women getting senior positions,” Yanai noted, before adding that “there is a lot of room for improvement for women in the workplace.”
Last week, the Central Bureau of Statistics released data showing that women take home 31.9% less than men, on average.
Part of the disparity is accounted for by hours worked; while men work longer hours, women often do a greater proportion of child-rearing and housekeeping.
When this is taken into account, the wage gap drops to 14.4%.
Another reason for the disparity is that women work in lower-level jobs than men, on average. If men are over-represented in the CEO, board director and higher management categories, then men will earn much more than women on average, even if there is no difference in how much men and women earn for doing the same job.