International Women's Day: Being an engineering student, all I could think was "Where are all the women engineers?"

Fraud Analytics Team Leader at IBM Trusteer, Yarden On, discusses what first sparked her love of technology and her experiences working as a woman in the Israeli technology sector.

International Women's Day is held annually on March 8th to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women whilst providing a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This year, IDG Connect has interviewed women from across the world who work in the technology sector to find out more about the current global landscape for Women in Tech.

According to one report, the Middle East now has more women working in tech per-capita than anywhere else in the world. While globally, only 10% of internet entrepreneurs are women, MENA-based startup accelerator Wamda estimates that in Middle Eastern cities, that figure stands at around 35%.

As large parts of the Middle East continue to promote conservative cultural traditions surrounding gender roles, many women in the region have found the technology industry offers them the level of flexibility necessary to have a career whilst undertaking domestic duties. 50% of university graduates in the Middle East are female, however women only make up a fifth of the region's workforce. The advancements within the technology industry have meant that women who chose to observe this customary way of living are now able to fulfil their desire for entrepreneurship, working from home instead of completely forgoing traditional means of employment.

Of course, a large number of women in the Middle East have chosen to pursue a career in technology because that's what they are passionate about and, unfortunately, they often face the same barriers as their peers in other parts of the world. A 12-year study by the Israel Venture Capital Association found that male-led startups raised twice as much per financing round than female-led ventures, whilst long-standing gender stereotypes mean female technologists are often taken less seriously than their male colleagues.

Furthermore, women make up only 18% of boards of public companies in Israel and there are only five female CEOs of companies listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. 93% of executives at technology companies are male and the only female chairwoman in the industry was one of the controlling shareholders.

One initiative that was launched to help tackle this wide-ranging inequality was the TechWomen programme, which saw the US Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs pair women working in Silicon Valley with female tech employees throughout the Middle East and Africa. The initiative has just entered its eighth year and throughout that period, over 600 women from the MEA region have taken part.

Yarden On is a Fraud Analytics Team Leader at IBM Trusteer where she heads up a team of analysts who work with various customers around the globe to prevent fraud, detect attacks and stop threat actors from causing any damage. Here, she discusses what first sparked her love of technology and her experiences working as a woman in the Israeli technology sector.