World Changing Alumnae: 2022 International Women's Day Event
With the aim of strengthening TAU’s women alumni community, the organization holds an annual event to mark International Women's Day with World Changing Alumnae.
International Women's Day 2022’s event was a return to our tradition of physical events (after two years of webinars imposed on us by the COVID-19 pandemic), with participation of:
- Hilla Haddad Chemlnik, Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, Alumna of TAU’s Faculty of Social Sciences and Coller School of Management
- Liran Avisar Ben Horin, Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Communications, Alumna of TAU’s Coller School of Management and the Buchmann Faculty of Law
- Naama Schultz, Director General of the Deputy Prime Minister's Office, Alumna of TAU’s Faculty of Social Sciences
- Panel moderator: Amalya Duek, Journalist, economics reporter and presenter at the News Company, Alumna of TAU’s Buchmann Faculty of Law
The event was opened with greetings from Prof. Neta Ziv, TAU’s Commissioner for Equity and Diversity: "Every year on March 8th, the world celebrates International Women's Day, with the understanding that there is no one woman who can represent all women. Women today face the war in Ukraine, women in Afghanistan were excluded because of the takeover of the Taliban and of course there are also women in Academia. International Women's Day is the day when we try to create the common denominator for all women wherever they are.
The good news: in this academic year, there is a female majority of students in all Israeli institutions and in all degrees. The proportion of female board members is also on the rise. However, Sadly, the higher the ranks are, the number of women decreases. At a certain point, when you meet the top of the academic hierarchy (President-CEO-Rector) the number of women in senior positions comes to a complete halt. Encouragement and support programs are needed to narrow the gap. Over the years, women have been absent from senior management positions and this cannot be fixed in one day. Higher education institutions face a big challenge. Today is a reminder to men and women that the fight for Gender Equality is not over yet."
Sigalit Ben Hayoun, Co-Founder and Head of the TAU Alumni Organization: "After two years, during which we had to refrain from holding face-to-face events, we are proud that the first frontal alumni event celebrates World Changing Alumnae. Women are about 55% of TAU’s 206K alumni, and many of them - although still not enough - hold senior positions in all fields of the economy and in all sectors.
Tel Aviv University promotes and encourages STEM studies - the studies of the technological professions - for women, and created a program that includes joint meetings and enriching workshops of the entire faculty of exact sciences and of each school in the faculty separately, which will provide tools to help students all through their academic journey."
Among the topics discussed in the panel was the question of academic studies at TAU and its effect on their professional and personal development. The alumnae also referred to a statement made recently by the Minister of Defense Benny Gantz (Also a TAU Alumnus) to the Minister of Transportation Merav Michaeli: "Statements like Gantz's to Merav Michaeli are said less and less often, and even then, they do not pass nonchalantly nowadays. Perhaps there are some who are annoyed by Merav Michaeli's style of speaking, but there is no doubt that she did A very fundamental change in the Israeli discourse."
Carmela Eldad, Naama Schultz’s mother, came to hear her daughter, who, among other things, also referred to the beginning of her career in the position:
"The beginning was very difficult. Eyebrows were raised because I'm not just a woman, I'm a deputy woman... but by now, no one raises an eyebrow anymore. Our office deals with complex processes that require cooperation between several government ministries. This position, like many Other positions, mainly requires a sharp head, a heart in the right place and a lot of desire to do good. Today we passed a resolution for the development of the Haifa Bay, that concerns 9 different government ministries. In this government specifically, there is a very clear awareness of the importance of women and there really are many women in the government and also in key positions in other ministries. Hopefully, we will only grow from here on."
Liran Avisar Ben Horin commented on the differences between men's and women's attitudes when competing for senior positions: "We are missing in the room when we are not present, and this develops in us the tendency to think that we are less suitable. Women always say, "We do not meet the threshold conditions." For some reason, men always meet the threshold conditions. They do not have this hesitation.
There is nothing wrong with ambitious goals, but the first step should be the allocation of quotas for key positions to be filled by women. It is a process that builds itself. If we use quotas in the early stages we won't need them later. You have to overcome the butterflies in your stomach and let go of the fears that rule us. As soon as we sit on the chair and do what we know how to do best, everything works out."
Hilla Haddad Chemlnik addressed the question of whether the goal set by the ministry she manages, according to which 15% of the employees in the Israeli economy will work in high tech, is not megalomanic:
"Without government involvement we will reach a number slightly lower than the target, therefore 15% is certainly a worthy vision. But - without government involvement the majority of people who will join high tech will most likely be men from Tel Aviv. Herzliya is also starting to become far away for high tech workers. We must intervene to include more people from the periphery and from a variety of sectors. Regarding women - the proportion of women in high tech has been at 35 percent for almost 10 years. In the core of high tech, it decreases to about 25%. It is in the academia where we see the increase in participation in the studies of high-tech professions. We have set ourselves a goal of 45% Women among the addition. It is impossible to invent women who will study computer science, but we must strive to integrate more of those who are in the training courses in the academia into this industry."
Later, Hila shared exactly when she realized what is the glass ceiling for women:
"My husband and I were reservists at the Technion together and studied aeronautics and space engineering together. We were 4 female students among dozens of men. I was told that today the situation is different and I really hope it is so. Later on, we enlisted together as aeronautics and space engineers in the Air Force. At the age of 27, just when you reach the stage in the army service when you’re supposed to be promoted to the next level, to the rank of Major, we decided to get married. From the moment I put on a ring, I felt the glass ceiling. We applied for the same positions, with the same commanders, but no one asked him about the upcoming wedding. The difference was dramatic, and it was then that I also decided not to pursue a military career. I studied an MA degree in Diplomacy at Tel Aviv University. I did it for the soul, but eventually it's the degree that helps me the most in my current job. A degree in engineering doesn't prepare you to manage a decision-making process or to be good in negotiation, whether overt or covert, and you can't develop in the public sector without being able to negotiate."
The artistic part of the evening was a show by the creative talents of TAU’s Buchmann-Mehta School of Music, titled "All about Chava", a musical tribute to Chava Alberstein named after the film ‘All About Eve’, under the artistic direction of Motti Pearlman and the musical direction and conducting of the school's Alumnus, Nitai Rach. The show was a moving musical journey through some of the best songs from Hebrew music icon Chava Alberstein, performed by singers Chen Wine, Yaara Attias, Maya Sayag, Mika Cohen, Netta Simchon and Rilli Willow, accompanied by a string quintet and piano.
Among the alumni who attended the event:
- Keren Shaked, Head of Experience Management at AKT Global
- Hana Rado, Business and Social Entrepreneur
- Daphna Gazit Weiss, CEO of Marietta Holdings
- Noa Denai, Director of Knowledge and Information Management and Freedom of Information Law Supervisor, Clalit Health Services
- Chaim Rafalowski, Disaster Management and EU Projects Coordinator at Magen David Adom
- Gabi Joffe, General Manager, Israel of Allscripts – DbMotion
- Dr. Dania Shapira, Board Member and Chair of Internet Committee of the Israeli Association of Periodical Press (IAPP)
- Dina Niron, Founder and CEO of Sparks Advisory
- Meirav Schwartz Alon, Deputy of the Business Audit Department, Bank Hapoalim
- Joanna Landau, Founder and CEO of Vibe Israel, member of the Board of Trustees of Tel Aviv University
and many others.
The Tel Aviv University Alumni Organization thanks the Jerusalem Vineyard Winery, who sponsored the event, and CEO and Head Winemaker Lior Lexer.