The Bank of Israel and the Ministry for Social Equality are working to promote gender equality
are working to promote gender equality at the banks and credit card companies and held a round table discussion on the issue
Supervisor of Banks Mr. Yair Avidan said, “The Banking Supervision Department sees the utmost importance in gender equality in the banking system, as an integral part of the important function that the banking system has as an influencing factor in Israeli society and through the approach of responsible and influential banking. I am pleased that the data show high representation rates of women employed by banks and credit card companies, but the representation rates decline when rising along the managerial hierarchy, and this requires thought and involvement. The Banking Supervision Department is extensively examining several options for advancing this important issue, and in parallel, I expect banks and credit card companies to continue building orderly organizational plans to integrate women and to promote them to senior executive roles in the organization, striving for equality of opportunities. I commend the Ministry for Social Equality on the collaboration on this important issue.”
Ministry for Social Equality Director General Ms. Yael Mevorach said, “Gender equality is a central and meaningful pillar in the activity of the Ministry for Social Equality, and there are many tasks ahead – from reducing wage gaps, through manners of employment that are adjusted for gender, to equal representation in decision making forums. The first discussion we chose to dedicate to the issue of appropriate representation in senior positions, as a main aspect impacting on the overall organization. I commend the partnership with the Bank of Israel and the banking system’s readiness. The discussion we are having today is incredibly important but it is just the opening, and the goal is to think together about the tools and steps available to us in order to ensure that when we hold a similar discussion in 3-5 years, the situation will be very different.”
Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women General Director Ms. Eva Madj’iboj said, “The Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women was established 23 years ago, with the Israeli government’s understanding that the problem of gender equality is one that has to be dealt with, but not enough has changed in those 23 years. The State of Israel today is fourth from the bottom in wage gaps among OECD countries, so it is clear to all of us that there is still a way to go, but I believe that changes can be made. We are working hard to promote the issue and despite the challenges, we see a readiness, learning, and willingness to begin a meaningful change in all sectors of society. I thank everyone who is taking part in this important discussion.”
Communications, Public Information, and Community Relations Department Director Ms. Nurit Felter-Eitan said, “Updated Bank of Israel data indicate that the number of women on the boards of the banks and credit card companies is only 1-3 women in each board of directors. That is, the share of women on boards in the banking system is 25 percent and the share of women in management in those firms is 33.5 percent. This is while the banking system overall employs twice as many women as men. These data show that something gets misaligned when climbing the ladder. The fact that all senior executives of the banking system and credit card companies took part in the round table, suggested solutions, and requested to continue the discussion, shows the need, and the internalization that a change is needed and that the system is ready to do so. We will certainly continue the conversation and the dealing with this important issue with the various stakeholders.”
The Bank of Israel and the Ministry for Social Equality want to strengthen the issue of gender equality in the banking system with the realization of the importance of the value of equality in general, and gender equality in particular, and from the approach that the banks and credit card companies should serve as a leading model and provide inspiration and an example to other companies, with regard to the advantages of gender diversity and equality of opportunities.
As part of this, the Bank of Israel’s Banking Supervision Department and the Communications, Public Information, and Community Relations Department, in collaboration with the Ministry for Social Equality, led a roundtable discussion on the issue of strengthening gender equality at the banks and credit card companies. Participating were Supervisor of Banks Mr. Yair Avidan, Ministry for Social Equality Director General Ms. Yael Mevorach, Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women General Director Ms. Eva Madj’iboj, Communications, Public Information, and Community Relations Department Director Ms. Nurit Felter-Eitan, Association of Banks in Israel CEO Eitan Madmon, and members of management of the banks and credit card companies.
During the roundtable meeting, the Supervisor presented data on the share of women at bank and credit card companies. The data indicate that two-thirds (64 percent) of workers employed directly by the banks and credit card companies are women, while among the senior executive levels their share is considerably lower, making up a third (33 percent) of management and about a quarter (24 percent) of board members. In the management level that includes branch managers and heads of divisions that are subordinate to management members, the share of women is relatively high, at 45 percent.
These data show that there is an appropriate representation of women employed at banks and credit card companies, but the higher up the managerial hierarchy one goes, the share of women declines. As such, the Supervisor called on the supervised entities to formulate a cross-organizational multiyear plan to build gender equality, and updated that the Bank of Israel is examining the possibility of imposing a requirement via a Proper Conduct of Banking Business Directive for appropriate representation on boards and management of the banks and credit card companies.
Following that, the Director General of the Ministry for Social Equality presented the picture of the current situation in Israel, at public and government companies, and how gender equality in senior managerial positions via legislation is important and necessary. Ms. Mevorach also noted that research shows that gender equality in private sector companies to date has not been created voluntarily, and therefore there is a need to change the approach and it could be that the correct process is to anchor the requirement for proper representation in obligating legislation.
At the end of the meeting, it was agreed to continue the conversation, to hold additional follow-up meetings, and to examine the need for future regulatory processes to promote this important issue.