International Women’s Day under the theme “Each for Equal”

International Women’s Day under the theme “Each for Equal”

Our legacy has equality in its foundations. Strauss Group was established by both my grandmother, Hilda Strauss and my grandfather, Dr. Richard Strauss, together. Their partnership and equality were taken for granted by my grandmother, who didn’t stop for a moment in her journey of creating something out of nothing. She did what many women know how to do – turn the world upside down to prove to the world and themselves that anything is possible.

On March 8th, we mark the International Women’s Day under the theme “Each for Equal”. This year’s theme reflects the understanding that a gender-equal world would enable each one of us to be the best version of ourselves.

I’m proud of the fact that gender equality has been a top priority for us at Strauss for over 20 years, back when merely mentioning this subject would be met with misunderstanding and disapproval. We had the foresight to understand the enormous social responsibility we have as a large company, to assume an active role in bringing about social change. We took it upon ourselves to empower women, and genuinely acknowledge and aim for the value of equality, which lies at the core of our organization. I have always believed that a just world cannot be achieved without true equality between men and women.

At times, the strive for gender equality seems to be at the heart of social consensus. However, I feel it is my personal responsibility to remind you that we are not quite there yet. While society today may seem to be more equal, progressive and just, the reality is, unfortunately, very different. Women make up half the population and nearly half of the workforce, yet they remain grossly under-represented in management positions and there is still a deep gender pay gap. In addition, all too often, women are forced to choose between having a family and a career.

Our legacy has equality in its foundations. Strauss Group was established by both my grandmother, Hilda Strauss and my grandfather, Dr. Richard Strauss, together. Their partnership and equality were taken for granted by my grandmother, who didn’t stop for a moment in her journey of creating something out of nothing. She did what many women know how to do – turn the world upside down to prove to the world and themselves that anything is possible.

Having grown up in the light cast by great women, equals among equals, I faced a new challenge of gender issues when I assumed my position as chairperson of Strauss. I was suddenly confronted by questions such as: “What is it like being a woman in a men’s world?” Looking around me, I realized that I was indeed alone, a woman in a predominantly male environment.

Many years have passed since, and there have certainly been many achievements to celebrate as well as noticeable improvement in women’s rights and status. Today, the Strauss board of directors consist of 50% women, a result of a substantial process we went through as a company. Unfortunately, this is not the case in the food industry in Israel. I am proud that we can set an example and lead by our own standards, but there is still a long road ahead of us.

We must recognize the opportunities before us. The UN has placed women’s rights and the global status of women among its leading goals. The entire world understands that we are gradually approaching an exciting time in history in which people expect gender equality.

Today, the world recognizes the absence of equality, and celebrates equality when they see it, because everyone understands that a more equal world is not only a more just world, but it is more productive and beneficial for the entire population.

We share the objective of other companies, organizations and countries that truly want to end gender inequality. Until we achieve that mission, we will not be able to say we live in a just society. The failure to include 50% of the population fairly and equitably causes enduring damage to any society. Including women means including everyone, since womankind contains a diversity of ethnic minorities, religions, socio-economic backgrounds, disabilities and ages.

We are facing great expectations, and I intend to deliver. Our social impact relies on the trust the public places in us as a brand. That trust is what ultimately allows us to maintain an inclusive and diverse work environment. We must continue to earn the public’s trust anew every day by living up to their expectations from us, and, most importantly, by meeting our expectations of ourselves.

Best regards,

Ofra Strauss