Cybertech Global Tel Aviv | Breaking the Glass Ceiling

A special panel about women in tech, against the backdrop of the Swords of Iron War which has shattered prejudice against female resilience and capabilities

Cybertech Global Tel Aviv | Breaking the Glass Ceiling

Photo: Gilad Kavalerchik

We are in the midst of the toughest war since the establishment of the State of Israel, in which women have been revealed as a cornerstone in national defense and resilience – in the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip, on the battlefield, and in vital roles on the home front. Since 2022, Israel has dropped in the global gender index, published annually by the World Economic Forum, from 60th place in 2022 to 83rd place in 2023. The decline is due to the presence of women in government, the public sector, and the business sector.

Cybertech Global Tel Aviv was proud to host a special panel that addressed various and surprising aspects of women's integration in hi-tech, led by the outgoing CEO of the Open University, Colonel (Ret.) Ruth Shoham, the former Chief Executive Director of Strategy and Partnerships at the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INDC).  

The percentage of women in the Israeli hi-tech industry stands at 30%, while in cybersecurity, the percentage of women is even lower. In company boards, women's representation stands at 26%, while only 3% of companies are owned by women."

Brig. Gen. (Res.) Neri Horoviz, the former Chief of the IDF’s Artillery Corps, explained that the Artillery Corps is both combat-oriented and highly technological. Thanks to his efforts, the Artillery Corps has a high percentage of women in all ranks and positions. He spoke about the change in organizational culture and the commanders' awareness of quality as a leading principle in selecting personnel. In his view, there is no doubt that we will continue to see women breaking the glass ceiling everywhere. This should be seen as a routine occurrence.

Dana Toren, Head of Israel’s National CERT at the INCD, spoke about how she has been coping since October 7th, as the mother of young children and the wife of a reservist. In her view, it is very important to invest in nurturing women's awareness of tech and cyber from a young age. She believes that the key to women's success is an empowering and supportive environment from managers and, of course, support from home. She urged women sitting in the hall not to be embarrassed to ask for help.

Yasmin Lukatz, founder and CEO of ICON, spoke at length about the importance of role modeling for women in tech and the need to start instilling tools and awareness as early as in school. It's no secret that diversity contributes to company profitability, so it would be right for young women in the early stages of their tech careers to integrate into such companies. As someone who grew up on science fiction stories, she sees AI as the beginning of the realization of science fiction. The revolution in this field needs to be significantly partnered with women. Yasmin is certain that there is still much to be done regarding the integration of women in tech and other fields, hoping for many more Alice Millers in all areas so that in a year from today, it will be unnecessary to talk about it.

All participants noted that the tech industry, like other sectors in the country, is affected by the lack of women around the decision-making table. The government decision from November 2022, which approved a representation of at least 33% women in relevant forums, is not being implemented. Surprisingly, the leadership of public universities in Israel will be composed solely of men in two months, when Ruth concludes her tenure.

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