Ultra-Orthodox Women in Israel Struggling in High-tech

Survey shows women prefer Haredi employers for comfortable work environment - including gender separation - but ordinary companies pay better.

Ultra-Orthodox women working in hi-tech, 2011.
Nir Keidar

Ultra-Orthodox women are joining the high-tech world in growing numbers, but they are divided on whether it is better to work for a Haredi high-tech company or an “ordinary” one, a survey shows. 

While ultra-Orthodox women prefer Haredi employers because they provide a more comfortable work environment – including strict gender separation, and more opportunities to meet and socialize with other Haredi women – ordinary tech companies offer better pay, found the survey of 120 women, conducted by two Ben-Gurion University researchers. 

At a conference on integrating Haredi women into the high-tech industry, panelists said that some 600 ultra-Orthodox women had completed training at Haredi engineering programs but couldn’t find work, especially with non-Haredi employers. 

But they also said low levels of schooling in math and English in Haredi schools was an obstacle. They urged the Education Ministry to train ultra-Orthodox teachers to improve the quality of education in the two core subjects.