Jerusalem-led mentorship program to help Gulf women in tech climb the career ladder

A group of up to 30 women working in junior technical positions from Israel, Bahrain, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates are set to meet in January to take part in a Jerusalem-led program to help them break the glass ceiling and to take on leadership roles. the roles.

The three-month program run by FemForward, a Jerusalem-based nonprofit founded in 2020, aims to support women in junior tech roles with the tools and network to advance their careers to the next level. In collaboration with the UAE-Israel Business Council and funded by the US Embassy in Israel, the junior-to-manager program will include women in technology from the Abraham Accord countries next year for the first time. .

The move comes after Israel began normalizing relations with Gulf countries in 2020 under the US-brokered Abraham Accords with Arab states including the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Bahrain. .

“We have funds to run this program with women from the Abraham Accord countries for two years and plan to have four cohorts,” FemForward founder and CEO Rachel Wagner Rosenzweig told The Times of Israel. “The Abraham Accords are fundamentally about creating a new Middle East, a Middle East that brings opportunity and prosperity to all people in the region, and by extending our program to women in these countries, we are helping to turn that vision into reality.”

FemForward was launched in 2020 to address what is often referred to as the “broken rung” trend – the lack of advancement of women in tech from entry-level to leadership positions. According to the McKinsey 2022 Women in the Workplace report, for every 100 men promoted from junior to manager level, only 87 women are promoted. The report also found that there are significantly fewer women working in engineering and technical fields, with the relative representation of women in these jobs decreasing compared to 2018.

“We found that the biggest problem with career advancement for women in tech is actually early in their careers due to a lack of network, lack of trust, and differences in how they present themselves in relation to men,” noted Wagner Rosenzweig. “So our program will be open to women at the start of their career who are hungry for advancement.”

Since FemForward’s inception, more than 100 women in Israel have completed the program.

The FemForward program including women from the Gulf countries will begin with a two-day seminar in mid-January in Israel and will be held in English. It will be followed by weekly online conferences and a mentorship program and will end with a two-day seminar in Dubai with networking events.

“We are paying for all participants to come to Israel and we are also going to have speakers from the countries of the Abraham Accords,” Wagner said.

The course includes lectures by leading women leaders, including Adi Soffer Teeni, CEO of Meta Israel, and Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem and co-founder of the UAE-Israel Business Council, as well as business such as Google. , McKinsey and Intel. Additionally, each woman in the program is personally mentored by a senior tech industry executive.

“As the tech industry in Abraham Accord countries continues to grow, so do the opportunities for women to expand their careers and become managers and leaders,” said Fleur Hassan- Nahoum, co-founder of the Gulf-Israel Women’s Forum, a division of the UAE-Israel Business Council. “By providing them with the tools they need, we are helping to increase the number of women leaders in the region.

The UAE-Israel Business Council was founded to bring together entrepreneurs, businesspeople, government officials and organizations seeking to initiate joint projects and advance economic and social opportunities between the two countries.

“The Abraham Accords were the start of something really important,” said US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides. “That’s the essence of bringing people together.”

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