Women Make Up Just 29% of All Israeli Computer Science Students

Data obtained by TheMarker show rate is highest at Haredi Lev Academic Center in Jerusalem

Ruti Levy
Ruti Levy
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
File photo: An empty computer science classroom.
File photo: An empty computer science classroom.Credit: FEISAL OMAR/REUTERS
Ruti Levy
Ruti Levy

Computer science remains a man’s world in Israel, leaving women at a big disadvantage for jobs in the country’s booming high-tech sector.

Although women account for 58% of all students pursing a bachelor’s degree at Israel’s universities and colleges, the rate among students of computer science was just half that (29%), according to figures compiled for the Council for Higher Education at TheMarker’s request.

In the United States, the percentage of women pursuing a bachelor’s degree in the field is an even lower 18%. Earlier this month, Google fired engineer James Damore for writing a memo claiming that women aren’t suited for tech jobs for biological reasons.

“The academic world has succeeded in achieving gender equality in leading areas like medicine and law, and we’re determined to do the same in high-tech,” said Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats, chairwomen of the education council’s steering committee on high-tech studies.

“The high-tech industries need a quality workforce, and bringing in women – who account for half the population, but far less of the employment in tech – is the way to build the workforce.”

Israel’s colleges and universities aren’t churning out engineers and software professionals at the pace the high-tech industry needs. A recent estimate by the Israel Innovation Authority estimated the labor shortfall will reach more than 10,000 over the next decade. Women, Israeli Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox (or Haredim) are three population groups officials are targeting to fill the shortfall.

The rate of women in Israeli computer science programs varies greatly between institutions. Unexpectedly, an ultra-Orthodox college in Jerusalem – the Lev Academic Center – is the leader: 53% of its computer science students are women. Lev’s 543 students account for nearly a fifth of all female students studying in the field.

Other top institutions for the percentage of women studying were Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, and Hadassah Academic College, where they comprise 35% of the computer science student body. The lowest rate was at Tel-Hai Academic College, Upper Galilee, with just 18% representation.

Another development is that women make up more of the senior faculty in computer science programs. Across Israel they accounted for 29% of all senior faculty in the programs. At three institutions – Ariel University, the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center and Holon Institute of technology – the programs are headed by women, but the percentage of women pursuing degrees was on the lower end – 23%, 20% and 19%, respectively.

Zilbershats said the council is working to increase the number of women in computer science and other tech-oriented courses, including cooperating with the Education Ministry to identify high school girls for mentoring programs.

She added that the CHE was exploring scholarships and other financial incentives.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


The Orion nebula, photographed in 2009 by the Spitzer Telescope.

What if the Big Bang Never Actually Happened?

בן גוריון

'Strangers in My House': Letters Expelled Palestinian Sent Ben-Gurion in 1948, Revealed


AIPAC vs. American Jews: The Toxic Victories of the 'pro-Israel' Lobby

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic speaks during a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in May.

‘This Is Crazy’: Israeli Embassy Memo Stirs Political Storm in the Balkans

Hamas militants take part in a military parade in Gaza.

Israel Rewards Hamas for Its Restraint During Gaza Op

Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them