The list of top earners in Israel’s publicly traded companies was published last week by Yediot Aharanot’s Mamon magazine. There is only one woman on the list: Stella Handler.
She’s the director of the cable network Hot, and Handler stands out for her gender, with a salary of 14.82 million NIS annually (approximately $4 million). That’s a lot of money, to be sure, but it’s also 30% less than the top guy on the list, mall-magnate David Azrieli, who makes the equivalent of $5.7 million a year.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index, on which Israel ranks 55th in the world, Israel has a ratio of 88:100 women to men in the economy.
Today Israeli women are getting undergraduate educations at rates on par with their male counterparts. Yet they are not making it to the top of the economy. The question is what is happening inside companies and organizations? Why are women failing to thrive?
There are two ways to address this question. One places the onus on women, and one places onus on surrounding cultures.
Many programs for women’s economic empowerment focus on what women need to do thingsdifferently in order to get ahead. Like Sheryl Sandberg, for example, in her now famous TED talk, in which she encouraged women to speak up, “take a seat at the table,”and stay focused on their ambitions, regardless of where life or motherhood takes them. All of this is good advice, for sure. But there is also a second approach which examines surrounding organizational cultures and explores ways to create thriving environments for people with different needs, family demands and personalities.