The 2013 Israeli Catalyst report

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What is Catalyst ?

  • Catalyst is an international nonprofit organization founded in the U.S.A. in 1962, which has made it its goal to expand the representation of women in the business world and in executive positions.
  • The organization strives to realize its vision, “Changing workplaces. Changing lives”, by expanding the range of opportunities for women and businesses, and it is guided by the values “Connect, Engage, Inspire, Impact”.
  • The organization has expanded its activities to Canada, Europe and Japan.
  • Catalyst acts to realize its vision and goals through collaboration with the business world.
  • Today, more than 400 companies, firms, business schools and associations from around the world, employing millions of women, are members of Catalyst. Members benefit from the organization’s expertise, its extensive network that embraces the global business world, and the many sources of information in its possession.


 The organization’s major work practices are the following:

  • Diverse research studies, carried out according to the unique research methodology developed by the organization. The studies examine competencies, skills and the experiences of women in business, barriers to their career advancement, and strategies. The most important of these studies is the Catalyst Census, which is performed all over the world.
  • Publications. The organization collects and publishes up-to-date information on proven diversity and inclusion practices and on innovative strategic initiatives for the successful inclusion of women in senior management positions, which have been implemented by business firms and provide successful models for change.
  • Business consulting to companies on subjects relating to diversity of the human capital and the formulation of innovative strategic initiatives for the integration of women in senior executive positions.
  • The annual Catalyst Award, which is presented to companies that have successfully assimilated a human diversity policy. Among the companies which have won the award in recent years are McDonald’s, Deloitte, PepsiCo, Nissan, BP and more.


What is the Catalyst Census?

The Catalyst Census, which is performed each year in countries all over the world, including the U.S.A., Canada, Europe, South Africa, Australia and Japan, in complete alignment with the organization’s unique research methodology, is designed to track the status of women’s employment in business companies and to study the correlation between women’s share of corporate officer and board director positions, and the business results of those corporations in the long term.

  • The Census examines the compatibility between the number of women executives and corporate performance in a variety of industries (in the U.S.A., Fortune 500 companies), and focuses on the three major financial measures: return on equity, return on sales, and return on invested capital.
  • Catalyst Censuses demonstrate that business companies that included more women in their senior managements and boards of directors achieved significantly better business results than did firms that did not adopt this practice.
  • It was found that the advancement of diversity in the human capital is beneficial to companies’ business.

The Catalyst Venture in Israel

Why do we need a venture like Catalyst in Israel?

Strauss Group, which has chosen to champion the issue of diversity and inclusion, and supports social projects for the benefit of women in general and for the promotion of women in business in particular, has joined forces with the Israel Women’s Network and the international Catalyst organization in order to import Catalyst’s research model and operating methods to Israel.

Israel stands out in its innovation capabilities and in its competitiveness, but nevertheless there is still a need here to encourage variety and human diversity in businesses, as well as to promote awareness for the advancement of women to senior management positions.

While women constitute about half of the labor force in Israel, only 30%  hold administrative positions in the economy. This low percentage drops even further when it comes to publicly-traded companies,  on the TA 100 index, where women account for only 18%  of Management and 15% of the Board.

Strauss Group, together with the Israel Women’s Network, has joined forces with the international Catalyst organization with the aim of establishing an initiative that will promote diversity and the inclusion of women in the leadership of the Israeli business world. As a first step of the launch of the Catalyst initiative in Israel in 2010, an Israeli Census was conducted, similar to those conducted by Catalyst worldwide. All censuses conducted in Israel since the launch of Catalyst study the numbers of women in Israel publicly-traded companies (the Tel Aviv 100 Index). At the next stage, and on an ongoing basis, the correlation between the number of women in pubic companies’ senior management ranks and boards of directors and the business results of these companies will be published, in accordance with Catalyst’s global researches.

This Census is fully compatible with the unique research methodology of Catalyst, which conducts such censuses around the world. The Israeli census was performed by Panels research institute.


Ofra Strauss, Chairperson of Strauss Group:

Equal burden will not be achieved if equal opportunity is not applied in society. Integration of women in managerial positions in the Israeli economy is inseparable from Israel’s journey to better utilization of labor resources and to improved competitiveness. The decision to start measuring the proportion of women in senior managerial positions among publically-traded companies in Israel resulted from the recognition that this is a managerial tool. Clearly, the joint forces of the business, governmental and social sectors can lead to the removal of barriers that prevent women from reaching senior management positions. Challenges are not exclusive to one sector, whether business or public . Our goal in this report is to cast a spotlight on the business sector, where the issue of empowerment of women through economic empowerment is critical. The discussion on both a sector and a gender is part of this important dialogue. We aim to encourage long-term processes that can remove the barriers for women, by providing opportunities and creating partnerships across sectors.”


Dr. Galit Desheh, Executive Director of the Israel Women’s Network:

The Catalyst initiative constitutes another step in the complex process of promoting women’s right to equality in the labor market and to appropriate numerical and professional  representation in decision-making teams in the business sector as well. Representation rates of women in senior managerial positions and on boards of directors are still very low. Israeli society, in its quest for equal rights, is committed to promoting the connection between education, earnings and the right for personal and cultural fulfillment, and to creating equality for women which is manifested not only in the definition of rights, but also in actual performance.”


Strauss Group, in collaboration with the Israel Women’s Network, is proud to publish the Israeli Census Report for the fourth year in succession. The census examines the percentage of women in senior executive positions and on the boards of directors of Israel’s 100 most highly traded companies. Censuses are performed using Catalyst methodology in many countries and in different markets, and we in Israel are proud to be part of the world trend that strives to present the data spanning a number of years to provide for an understanding that will contribute to generating the necessary change in the rate of women’s representation in top executive positions and in the boardroom. 

Next year we will be marking the fifth year that this Census is conducted in Israel. We are planning a special in-depth research project designed to examine whether there is a correlation between TA-100 companies in which the percentage of women in the company’s most senior organs is higher, and the accomplishment of better business performance by those companies. 

At the same time, we are still only at the beginning of this journey and there remains plenty to aspire to, as the data presented in this report show. Women account for around 47% of the workforce in Israel, are present in a variety of organizations and fill diverse positions and have the tools to lead and direct, yet the numbers at the top of the pyramid aren’t growing.

Just as we at Strauss believe in an inclusive organizational structure and in setting concrete goals and measuring the percentage of women in top positions in the Group, we appreciate that measuring the data and monitoring them each year in line with world practice is a first-class management tool.


The goal of this report is to cast a spotlight on the business sector, where the issue of women’s economic empowerment is a highly significant one. The debate on this issue includes concepts such as gender influence and sectorial impact on the composition of the executive workforce, and perceptions that assume that a diverse workforce is a key factor in our ability, as a country, to gain a competitive advantage in relation to other countries and companies. Research has proved that diminishing the gaps between women and men contributes to the GNP and to society as a whole. This is especially true in Israel, where the human fabric is rich and diverse and is our primary natural resource. 

Only by joining forces among the sectors can we assure the slow but sure elimination of the barriers that prevent women from reaching top management positions. The goal of this report is to provide up-to-date, reliable data and around them, to unite all elements, from all sectors, to take joint action to change the situation. Now, more than ever before, we are witnessing a lively and active debate on the subject of equal opportunity. The inclusion of more women in senior executive positions and on boards of directors is an essential step that Israel must take to truly realize its natural resources – its workforce resources – and to maximize its competitive advantages.


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