Sister, how about succeeding in high tech?
Conversation with women who bring change
A minority of female representation in the technology industries, especially in their senior positions, is a fact.
But there are those who believe that the reasons for inequality are less interesting than the reality of tomorrow and encourage women to join the industry and advance in it until the change in gender statistics
Thursday, 19 May 2022, 12:36 Updated: Friday, 20 May 2022, 07:25
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The relatively low percentage of women in the technology professions is an enigma: on the one hand, it is one of the most advanced industries in which craftsmen should not have prejudices about women as equal partners.
On the other hand, the numbers represent male hegemony.
But there are those who do not dwell on the reasons for the gaps and try to reduce them.
Women who, after succeeding in screwing up for senior positions in technology, have decided in their spare time (and not much) to reach out to other women to help them reach the top, and even strive that in the organization in which they work - women will succeed, at least as men.
"It is very important that workplaces are gender-diverse," says Nirit Grushko, VP of research and development and engineering at Ormat Technologies. "The value of a workplace that has diversity - both at the business and social level - is great.
Women and men think differently, facing the same problems will usually bring different solutions.
The more diversity there is, the higher the capabilities. "
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Nirit Groshko, VP of Research and Development and Engineering at Ormat Technologies (Photo: Ella Faust)
Groshko notes that "since I was at Ormat, we have absorbed over 30 engineers, 10 of them women, which is more than the statistics currently available in universities in terms of the percentage of women in these professions. I have 110 engineers in the department, 30 of them women. But I hope it grows in the future.
It's on Ormat's agenda. For example, in the business unit I belong to, we are seven VPs, three of them women.
Ormat deals with green energy, specializing in geothermal energy.
It's important to me that women be a part of this green, from doing good to the planet.
We also adapt ourselves to everything that happens in the competitive world of employment, whether it's flexibility for mothers, for pregnant women.
"We do everything necessary so that a woman, at every stage of her life, can move forward and realize herself."
Concurrent with the agenda at her workplace, Grushko from Moshav Shdema, 53, is married and a mother of three, who also volunteers as a mentor in the Equal Association that helps girls develop positive long-term self-esteem, promote equality of opportunity and reduce the gender gap.
"It is known that in adolescence, girls' self-confidence drops by about 30%. They tend to blame themselves when they fail, which is also a tendency of the female gender," she says.
"It makes a lot of young people avoid realizing their potential, which also means avoiding studying technological subjects and not choosing 5 units of math, physics or chemistry in high school
. "My personal experience is that it is possible that there is no such thing as a glass ceiling."
Groshko, a former reservist, studied chemical engineering at the Technion, and after her military service worked for four years as a teacher.
She then joined Intel.
Today, as mentioned, it is at the forefront of technologies.
"At the time, I left teaching in favor of high-tech because I was looking for a challenge," she says.
"My parents, both are non-academic, but it was important to them that we were all taught at home. Excellence was a value in the family. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be good at everything I do and the best."
-How do you encourage the girls to believe in themselves?
"When I enter the classroom, I talk mainly about the question of who you give the power to in your life: do you listen to the outside world that says 'no way', or do you listen to yourself? Academics who grew up in the periphery, and I'm a woman too. On the face of it, statistics would not allow me to get to what I did. "But get up and move on."
Rachel Kuznitz, Head of Quality and Automation at the One Zero Digital Bank (Photo: David Garb)
The language barrier
Rachel Kuznitz, 33, an ultra-Orthodox woman, married, a mother of five, from Petah Tikva, is currently head of quality and automation at the One Zero digital bank.
In her spare time, she is a volunteer instructor in the Chen program and the ripple program of the startup Nation.
The big goal is to train ultra-Orthodox girls for the world of employment in general, with an emphasis on technological professions.
"First of all, there is a gap of entry into the world of work, and another gap is a built-in cultural gap that exists in ultra-Orthodox society, for example regarding a mixed work environment. The more familiar you are with the struggles, the easier it is," she says.
Kuznitz, who has a bachelor's degree in computer science, has been in the high-tech field for 12 years.
"My career started as a computer and language teacher," she says.
"I worked at it for two years. So I was still too young to realize how much money in high tech really matters. I switched to high tech not because of money, but because my mom and husband pushed me to do something else with myself beyond teaching. I said I would try. I tried, I peeked, ' I was injured, 'and I'm still there. "
- Has the transition gone smoothly?
"It was not easy. For example, the English language was a very prominent barrier for those who grew up in a sector where there is almost no way to be exposed to English except English classes. I did an English course to improve the language. Also, in terms of gender there was difference. It's a close cultural exposure to people from the secular sector and all that it means.
-When did you feel integrated?
"The process took almost a year, and the patience and inclusion of my managers in the previous workplace where I started, Finstra, is commendable. By the way, one of the significant fears among ultra-Orthodox women is that if you work in a secular place, you give up values. "For example, to this day I usually do not attend social events. It is less suitable for my lifestyle."
- What is your goal in the meetings?
"It is important for me to give them the opportunity, to increase the percentage of ultra-Orthodox women in the labor market, especially in the technological field, and also to promote them to senior key positions. I am a graduate of Leadership - an occupational leadership program for ultra-Orthodox women. "A joint program that aims to take women who already work in high-tech and help them advance to key positions. I am currently accompanying them in terms of field counseling."
Today, Kuznitz notes, "We also see a change on the part of employers. They already understand that ultra-Orthodox women are a very high-quality workforce, and release barriers on their part. We have done well, but there is still something to be done. Those who are already working for management and key positions. "
Tal Ravid, Head of Data at the cyber company Armis Security (Photo: Armis Security)
Get used to the discourse
Tal Ravid, head of data at the cyber company Armis Security, also helps women realize their potential.
"I see the injustice, and also the fact that women do not always know where they can go. It very much looks at me on a personal level," she says.
Among other things, Ravid volunteers with the Woman2Woman organization in order to promote women in Israeli society, and in the high-tech industry in particular;
She also volunteers with women who have experienced domestic violence and with ultra-Orthodox women, and assists in career guidance and resume retrieval.
Recently it has also started to launch within Armis Security, in collaboration with Human Resources, projects aimed at promoting high-tech women.
Ravid, 34, single (with a spouse), from Tel Aviv, is a graduate of 8200, and has a master's degree in political science.
"Not a classic degree in high-tech professions," she says.
"But the 8200's experience helped me as a springboard, and I had to complete a lot of things in preparation for my job. I also had an example from home. My mother only did a bachelor's degree at 40. When I was born, she started being a clerk at one of the HMOs.
She studied and proved herself, I grew up within the organization until she became the district human resources manager. I experienced with her the aspirations, her progress. It gave me an example, I grew up with the understanding that everything is open to me, that if I strive and aim for the highest heights, I will succeed. "Women know that there is no such thing as a glass ceiling, but that it is simply a hill that needs to be climbed. That is why it is important for me to have a guiding hand for them."
Ravid notes that in recent years there has certainly been a change for the better.
"For example, with us at Armis, as we grew, the number of women managers also increased. This creates a very pleasant, open and accepting work environment. I see this in other places as well," she says.
"There is improvement for the better, but there is still room for improvement. There are still socio-environmental barriers in high-tech that women have to deal with, such as a dialogue between men that is conducted in a way that a woman is not comfortable with. There are social barriers that organizations need to think about "The other barrier is for the women themselves, who sometimes really fail to see themselves as successful, good, strong and leading as they really are."
Ravid adds: "Recently, I have also been helping women with job interviews, how to convey self-confidence in front of the interviewer, how to speak his language. Now we have such a project at Armis for ultra-Orthodox cyber students.
Inbar Bedian, Director of Innovation and Strategy at the Chief Technology Office, Microsoft Israel (Research and Development) (Photo: Courtesy of the Photographers)
Inbar Badian, Director of Innovation and Strategy at the Chief Technology Office, Microsoft Israel Research and Development, comes from a technological background.
"During school I did 10 units in computer science, 5 units in chemistry, accelerated math.
Even then I realized that technology is actually a tool and a language," she says, noting that at school I still did not know exactly what she would like to do when she grew up, "but I wanted to keep the doors open. "Nowadays, technology is everywhere, not just in high-tech. I wanted to learn that language, to open my mind. Obviously I had concerns, but one of the things my family encouraged me to do was try and dare."
After graduating from high school in Diane, 29, single, from Tel Aviv, served in the technology unit of the Intelligence Corps.
She then did a bachelor's degree in computer science and economics, and in the process began working at IBM as a software and algorithm developer.
"After graduating, I joined Microsoft's flagship program that trains outstanding developers to become product managers," she says.
"Half a year ago I started my current and senior position at Microsoft, which allows me to create a lot of innovation. Michal Braverman-Blumenstick, our CEO, has always been an inspirational model for me.
Working closely with her now is proof that no matter what your age or gender - if you have the desire, motivation and tools, you can do anything.
" ProWoman, which among other things encourages girls and women to believe in themselves and turn to the fields of science and technology. A long way.
"It was an initiative that grew out of me, and Microsoft was the first to support it and give it resources," she says.
"Today the initiative has been run outside of Microsoft and other companies are partners with it. I meet girls and women during the various activities that I empower them and they empower me back. There is a lot of power that you get back in your giving."
- What is your goal?
"Today the representation of women in the high-tech industry, especially in technological and key positions, is still lower than we would like to see, probably in relation to the percentage of women in the population. We are seeing an improvement, the numbers are growing, but there is more work to be done. "To build the head, we will lower the barriers and encourage them to experiment and get to know the technological world - we will certainly see more women and also a representation of diverse populations. Studies show that it is also good for business, there is a win-win here."
The article is also published in Maariv's "Business" supplement, Friday, May 20