The wave of startups and technology companies in Israel has boomed in recent years. The image and energy that it brings to Tel Aviv and its people also allows the entrepreneurial bug to hit most sectors.
Some high profile women have paved the way and set amazing milestones for women in tech. They have shown that you can be a mother, an entrepreneur, a friend, and so much more all and all while balancing life.
Israel produces strong women who aren’t intimidated by male colleagues and there seems to be one primary reason for it: most women in Israel served in the army, and many of them found themselves in leadership positions at a young age. Some positions within the army even favor women because of the way their minds are wired. Studies show that women are more analytical, and these specific units where visuals need to be analyzed tend to have more women.
Financial considerations make having a two-parent income a necessity in most Israeli families, yet what keeps women dedicated to advancing in their fields is their ambition and pride in good work. Israeli women seldom take on just any job; they choose work they actually enjoy and have a passion for.
In spite of great strides, there is still a large gap between men and women in Israel, and globally, but there are ways to get your name out. Some include networking and talking up your achievements, as well as learning more to stay on top of the game. The basic principle to follow is “if you don’t ask, you don’t get.”
One issue that is often seen in Israeli networking is the overwhelming dominance of men at these events. This can be attributed to a tendency many women still have to sit back and let men take the lead. If you need to build your personal brand, the only way to do it is face to face. Social media and digital branding comes afterwards when people you’ve met have an opportunity to research who you are.
The heavy ratio of men comes close to the second issue: women tend to underestimate their abilities, and are less comfortable showing off. Women would rather do their job, do it well, succeed and hope to get recognized. Sadly, this often means they get overlooked when opportunities for advancement come along, especially compared to their more professionally and socially dominant male peers. Even the same women who were stars on the IDF’s military bases may hold themselves back in the corporate world.
In the past year, several organizations have popped up in the Start-up Nation, where they focus on bringing top women to tell their story to an audience who is ready to listen and learn from their successes. There are some, like Women in Wireless that come from the USA and have settled in Israel to help empower women through educating them, and connecting them with other successful women.
One woman who stands out is Michal Michaeli, founder of Eva Ventures. Eva Ventures is a Micro VC dedicated to promoting female entrepreneurs in the Israeli tech. Michal, also married with children, can often be found mentoring women in tech to do more and expand their careers.
Another woman whose leadership inspires everyone around her is Liat Mordechay Hertnou (co-founder and CMO, 24Me). Not only does she run this successful startup, she is also a mother of three young children. The added bonus is that her co-founder is in fact her husband, so that makes it easier to manage the day-to-day operations.
The desire to learn a new skill does not signify a lack of confidence; on the contrary, it’s part of life and part of growing personally and professionally. Some events focus on building your own WordPress website, and some can help fix your pitch when networking and even building your personal brand. All of these are examples of valuable learning and empowerment tools.
Groups and organizations like Women in Wireless who have chapters in Israel are always looking to grow their community and help empower women. Join their next event and be part of the community.
The Start-up Nation encapsulates the innovative spirit typical of Israelis, inspiring and helping women incorporate Israeli culture into their work life. The culture here is simple: work hard, play harder and live for the moment.