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

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

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.

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Charlotte Trueman

Charlotte is Staff Writer at IDG Connect. She is particularly interested in the impact technology will have on the future of work and promoting gender diversity throughout the tech industry.

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