Women underrepresented in management

TA-25 companies list only one female in top spot.

Men may still dominate leading management positions in companies listed on the Tel Aviv-25 Index but the few women holding senior roles say they do not feel discriminated against on their way to the top. "In Israel, women can get to the top if they want," said Anath Levin, Deputy CEO and head of the Investments Division at Migdal Insurance. "In recent months, we have seen women filling high-ranking positions in the banking or financial sector. If there are not many women on the management boards of leading companies, this might be more a result of different priorities of the Jewish mother." Levin added that the fact that a strong presence of professional women can be seen in places other than the business sector such as in the Praklitut (state attorney services) might be an indication that senior positions in the business sector do not suit the priorities of some women. Migdal is one of the few leading Israeli public companies on the TA-25 that lists five senior women on its 10-member management board. Others agreed with Levin's assessment. "In Israel, more people are choosing to take the role of being a mother. I don't think there is a problem for women who want to progress in the business world," said Ronit Raphael owner of Medical Cosmetics Center Ltd. "Over the past five years, there has been a revolution of influential business women such as Galia Maor, Ofra Strauss, Dalia Itzik or Pnina Rosenblum." As the world marks International Women's Day on Wednesday, the presence of Israeli senior female positions on the TA-25 index can be counted on one hand. The obvious names that come to mind are the iron lady Galia Maor of Bank Leumi - the only female Chief Executive Officer on the index - and Ofra Strauss, chairwoman of Strauss Elite. Female representation is often limited to managing human resources, investor relations, marketing and business operations. Representation of women on the companies' boards of directors ranges from none to two. Others would like to see the number of women in senior roles increase. "We still see a very small number of women in top positions. In a lot of cases as a result of the male dominated generation we live in here. We would like to see more women making it to the top," said Nili Kariv, chairwoman of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce's Women in Business Forum. Meanwhile, Noga Keinan, President of the Israeli Forum of Chief Financial Officers, thinks one of the reasons for the lack of women at the top was the confidence par which still exists between men and women at work. "Once the Israeli society retreats from being a society of generals, we might see more women in high-ranking positions," she said. Ahead of International Women's Day, the Women Industrial Forum of the Manufacturers' Association, on Tuesday called for Israeli industry to raise the average rate of women on management and directors' boards to 40 percent from the current 25% as required by the new Norwegian Law of public companies.