March 3, 2019 - senior women figures in Israel's economy and the capital market gathered at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) to take part in an opening bell ceremony in honor of International Women's Day, which will be celebrated over the coming week.
TASE has joined the worldwide initiative of ringing the opening trading Bell to mark this day, which is celebrating this week at more than 60 stock exchanges around the world. The initiative is the product of an exceptional collaboration between six international organizations: UN Women, World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), the UN Global Compact, the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Women in ETFs.
Trading is opened with a communal button pressing by TASE's female managerial staff and top women executives of public companies included in the TA-125 share price index. Levana Shifman, Chairman Municipal bank; Lilach Asher Topilsky, CEO Israel Discount bank; Segi Eitan, CEO property and building Corp.; Irit Izakson, Chairman First International Bank of Israel, along with, TASE's leading women executives and the comedienne, Adi Ashkenazi, who was particularly excited about participating in the ceremony. Ashkenazi is currently fronting an extensive campaign launched by TASE under the slogan – "Fear Does Not Pay" – that is designed to encourage the public to shed its fear of the stock exchange, to deepen familiarity with the capital market and enhance involvement in this field.
Irit Izakson, Chairman First International Bank of Israel remarked: "I am proud to state that at the First International Bank, 70% of the work force consists of women and that 55% of managers at all levels are women. This is indeed an impressive accomplishment. We need to develop opportunities even further for half of Israel's work force and in so doing, facilitate the tremendous contribution women make to the economy."
Lilach Asher Topilsky, CEO Israel Discount bank stated that "At Discount, women account for more than 50% of the work force. In the banking industry, women have broken through the glass ceiling and serve as an example to other women seeking to serve in key positions. Galia Maor, former CEO of Bank Leumi was the first to break through, and today, women are the CEOs of Israel's leading banks, including Irit Isaacson, who serves as Chairperson of the First International Bank. We must learn and understand how to best break through and shatter the glass ceiling in industries other than banking as well."
Segi Eitan, CEO property and building Corp. commented: "I am proud to be here today and to take part in this important ceremony commemorating International Women's Day. Throughout history, women have proven themselves and have made substantial contributions to society in all walks of life. We are witnessing a greater number of women filling key positions at all levels of management in various fields. One particularly salient field is that of financial services, in which four bank CEOs and regulators such as the Supervisor of Banks, the Chair of the Israel Securities Authority and the General Director of the Competition Authority are women. Until recently, women served as the Commissioner of the Capital Market and the Governor of the Bank of Israel as well. All have proven, of course, to be extremely talented and adept at their jobs."
Levana Shifman, Chairman Municipal bank (formerly Dexia Israel Bank), stated: “For years, Israel’s banking sector leads in having a feminine managerial majority - a top team of quality professional leadership. We can only hope that in the coming years, we will see a significant increase in female representation in other sectors, a change that will benefit both individual companies and Israeli society as a whole.
The comedienne, Adi Ashkenazi, remarked: I am extremely proud to lead TASE’s campaign. A client, which honors women so much as to grant even better than equal standing, is truly something special. As far as women’s presence in the labor market – talented women – there are plenty! Ambitious women who aspire to occupy excellent positions – there are plenty! What is lacking is the legislation that will them to go to work, particularly in the years of early motherhood – in so far as this relates to caretaking expenses, maternity leave for men and anything that will enable women to continue momentum in the pursuit of their careers. I pray that this will be made possible for the benefit of all Israeli women.”
In his opening remarks, Ittai Ben Zeev, TASE CEO, stated: “More than 60 stock exchanges throughout the world are marking International Women’s Day this week, and we are the exchange to kick off the festivities by opening trade in honor of this important day. Unfortunately, in reviewing the public companies comprising the TA-125 index, only ten have women chairing the board of directors or serving as CEO. At TASE, women are a clear majority: 60% of the staff and management are women. From my personal experience, there are many and varied advantages to womanpower.
When Adi Ashkenazi was called to press the opening bell, Ben Zeev added, “In our country, people tend to be cynical and always have an opinion about everything. However, if there is something we learned in the past months, since we started to work with Adi, it’s that everyone, without exception, agrees that she is extremely funny and people love her, even people who don’t exactly love our current campaign. To be clear – we welcome criticism with affection. I feel compelled to share with you that since the beginning of our working together, I discovered in Adi, a smart, brilliant person, involved in the content at an extraordinary deep level, who cares for the team and the harmony of each person working with and around her. It has definitely been a great experience and a privilege to work with Adi, who remains unchanged despite her resounding success. It is inspiring for women, and even more so, for men.”
In the picture from right to left: Meirav Leshem, ESQ general counsel; Orly Grinfeld, EVP, head of clearing; Levana Shifman, Chairman Municipal bank; Lilach Asher Topilsky, CEO Israel Discount bank; Adi Ashkenazi, comedienne; Segi Eitan, CEO property and building Corp.; Irit Izakson, Chairman First International Bank of Israel; Hani Shitrit Bach, EVP, head of listings.
Photo credit: Guy Assayag
Can be used free of charge.