Earlier this year I posted an entry about the lack of women in technology that included some of the famous women who contributed to technology and some of the causes that prevent women from studying fields related to technology or having a career in technology and connected all this to Israel.
I’ve been waiting for a good time to post the follow up, and was going to post it back in June after Roi Carthy of TechCrunch mentioned, but didn’t cover, the question in his post about three of Israel’s most-promising female entrepreneurs and then again last month after Ada Yonath won the Nobel Prize in chemistry, thus becoming the first Israeli woman to win a Nobel Prize and the first woman since 1964 to win one in chemistry, but wasn’t able to either of those times.
Fortunately, Boris’s post “What is keeping women out of technology?” on The Next Web today has given me another opportunity to post this. He suggests that considering the 50/50 male/female attendance he recently saw at a networking event and the 44% women who read The Next Web but how few of them comment, fewer women are in tech compared to men because women miss important phone calls and never bring their business cards with them.
These are interesting points that can perhaps take women out of technology but they are not the main factors. How many of the women at the networking event or who read The Next Web are actually on the tech side of technology and not just the marketing or journalism side? How many of them have backgrounds in science, math, computers or engineering?
The problem is that women first need to be interested in technology and pursue that path. Even if they are interested in math, science, technology when they are younger, women face a lot of social pressures as they grow older that challenge their pursuit and ultimately result in many abandoning these areas.
In her dissertation “Women in the Land of Milk, Honey and Hi-Technology: The Israeli Case,” Ronit Kark takes an in-depth look at Israeli society and the underlying dynamics that are preventing more women from going into technology, engineering and science in Israel.
The reasons that Kark gives for why women are being kept out of technology in Israel include: the high school education and military service of women, familialism and motherhood in Israel and the role of the Hebrew language.
Taking this further, based on my first post and Boris’s, while Boris is planning to teach his two daughters PHP when they are old enough, he should also make sure that they gain the self-confidence to go along with those skills. Real encouragement is also one of the things we can all do to get more women in technology.