Advancement of women in science

Advancement of women

  •   The advancement of Israeli women in science and technology

    Excerpt from "1961-2011 Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center celebrates its jubilee!" by Mazal Renform and Yvonne Lipman
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    Advancement of women in science Advancement of women in science

    Israeli models promoting women in science & technology
    Israel has developed many programs over the years, both governmental and non-governmental, working towards the advancement of women in science and technology and encouraging the education of girls in these fields. These programs are implemented through Israeli universities, high schools and the employment sector. They include:
    • The National Council for Advancement of Women in Science and Technology, established in 2000. It coordinates the state, public, nonprofit and private bodies that work towards the advancement of women in science, coordinates all Israeli programs with the European Union and increases public awareness about the problems and issues women face with regard to working or studying sciences.
    ORT Young Women for the 21st Century, created by Israel's first certified female pilot, Yael Rom, a program which improves teaching and learning methods among teachers and pupils.
    • GES project: Girls to Engineering Studies, a program designed to increase the level and number of girls who study mathematics and physics in high school, with the goal of reaching the required level to enter engineering studies in university.
    • The Future Generation of Hi-Tech, an initiative of the Forum of Female Industrialists of the Manufacturers' Association. Its goals are to encourage women to choose a career in science and technology and to encourage students, especially girls, to study science and technology in high school.
    Israel Women's Network, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, with programs that advance the standing of women and fight gender stereotypes in the education system.
    • The National Institute for Technological & Hi-Tech Training (NITT), which has completed a national survey drawing conclusions on how more girls and women would be attracted to studying and working in the sciences and technologies.
    • The Forum for the Advancement of Women in Academia - a group of women professors from Israeli research universities and colleges, who have the goal of placing gender equality at the forefront of university agendas by creating programs that support women in graduate studies and by lobbying for increased participation of women in decision-making positions in higher institutions of education.
    • Day care for female graduate students and more flexible working hours for mothers in many institutions of academic studies and higher learning.
    • A variety of scholarship programs for women undergraduates and graduates within the Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Technion, as the Conference participants were able to see and hear for themselves on their visits to these institutes of higher education.
    • The inspection of all school textbooks by the Ministry of Education for gender stereotyping since 2009.
    Through these different programs, Israel has the experience of promoting women in science and technology, understanding that the role of women in science, technology and innovation is imperative for all aspects of development.

    Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center


    The year 2011 marked the 50th anniversary of the Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center (MCTC) - the first training extension operated by MASHAV - Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation. MCTC was designed for women specializing in topics of socio-economic advancement, and was one of the first training centers in the world in that area of expertise.
    MCTC's establishment was the result of the conviction of Golda Meir, then Foreign Minister of the young State of Israel, that her country, with all its recent experience as a new state, was in a particularly useful position to offer meaningful assistance to women leaders in the newly independent African and Asian states, to help them advance the situation of women in their countries.



    ​Golda Meir had two strong women supporting her in her effort: Inga Thorsson, Ambassador of Sweden to Israel at that time, and Mina Ben-Zvi, a dynamic Israeli leader, who became MCTC's Founding Director, a position she held for over 25 years. Indeed, Mina Ben-Zvi's spirit, energy and personality are reflected in the reputation the Center holds today.


    Thanks to the efforts of these three women, in May 1961, 66 women participants from African, Asian and Mediterranean countries met in Haifa, Israel, to discuss "The Role of Women in a Developing Society". The seminar culminated in a signed declaration proposing "establishing a center in Israel … promoting future national and international activities for the advancement of women." The Mount Carmel Training Center opened its doors in Haifa as the result of that six-week seminar.
    True to Ms. Meir's philosophy, MCTC encourages the development of women's leadership, through its training activities. Biennial international conferences are held for women leaders around the world, and in May 2011, exactly 50 years after the Mount Carmel Center opened, it celebrated its the jubilee at its 27th biennial International Women Leaders' Conference, under the auspices of MASHAV and in cooperation with its international partner, UNESCO.
    The MCTC/MASHAV/UNESCO 2011 International Women Leaders' Conference provided a great opportunity for women in high positions to meet together to review this situation for women in science, technology and innovation across the entire world. The 2011 Conference topic was Science, Technology and Innovation: Education and Training for Women and Girls. It was intended for approximately 50 women leaders, active at senior policy-making level - ministers, MPs, professionals from the scientific and academic world, as well as senior officials working in NGOs and international and United Nations specialized agencies in developing and industrialized countries.
    The exchange of experiences after three intense days of discussion was unified in a new proposal which the participants named the Declaration of Haifa. This comprehensive document incorporates a call to governments, international organizations and other stakeholders to ensure that the crucial and central place of women and girls in education for science and technology is promoted, developed and expanded. Conference participants were given the responsibility of disseminating the Declaration widely and implementing its recommendations.