On the Way to the Top

Lady-Tech Conference at the Technion: Learning from the experience of female Technion graduates who hold key positions in industry and academia

Lady-Tech Conference at the Technion

Lady-Tech Conference at the Technion

“It is important to choose a direction and follow it with all your might. Believe in yourselves and your gut feelings, take the lead, ignore pangs of conscience, don’t be ashamed and don’t apologize. Career advancement is not always meteoric, so it’s important to stop every now and then; but in the end dreams do come true, so don’t stop dreaming”.

These are just a few of the tips given by Technion female graduates to their counterparts, students and graduates alike, at a panel held on the topic of “The Greatest Challenges on the Way to the Top”, which took place at the Technion as part of the 3rd Lady-Tech Conference. The panel, which was moderated by Professor Ayelet Fishman from the Department of Biotechnology and Food Engineering, consisted of Dr. Avital Schrift – Director of MABAT Missiles at Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.; Colonel (Reserves) Adi Bershadsky who is engaged in high-tech international marketing; Iris Han – CEO of the Nature Protection Society; Prof. Hagit Attiya – Technion VP for Academic Affairs; Hanna Sarel – CEO of Medatech Information Technologies Ltd.; Karin Aibschitz Segal – Hardware and Software Operations Manager at Intel Israel; and Marie Attala Libbs – owner and CEO of Nazareth Electricity Engineering.

The conference was the initiative of the Technion Alumni Association and the ‘Supersonas’ organization, and the participants were all female. The opening remarks were given by Technion Alumni Association Chairperson Sigal Fierst, CEO and owner of CTS Israel: “I believe that 30 years from now no one will mention the percentage of Technion female graduates, and gender-focused events will no longer be held,” said Fierst, “because the significant contribution of female graduates will be something that is taken for granted.”

“Sticky-floor” Syndrome

Technion graduate Yulia Kagan, Business Development Manager at Leidos Israel, spoke about women at the beginning of their careers. “Many women do not step on the career acceleration-pedal once they decide to start a family, and long before they have their first child. Before we address breaking the glass ceiling we need to address the ‘sticky floor’, which stems primarily from the way women see the progression of their lives and their future careers”.

Tali Heruti Sober, Editor of the labor market section in “The Marker” newspaper, lectured on “Men, women and the economics separating them”. According to her, wage discrepancies of 33% still exist between men and women, and in high-tech they approach 45%. “There are several reasons for this. Firstly, women don’t like to take risks. Secondly, the enemy of the working woman is her time-clock attendance card. Thirdly, women are more loyal to their work place than men, and it’s well known that wages are not upgraded significantly without changing your work place. A similar process is happening in entrepreneurship – a woman who builds a venture treats it like her baby, nurturing and raising it over the years, while men prefer serial entrepreneurship and tend to jump from venture to venture”.