Science, Technology and Space Minister Yaakov Peri said Monday that women make
up only 35 percent of students at the Technion- Israel Institute of Technology
in Haifa, despite high numbers of women attending university and
A report presented to the Knesset Committee on the Status of
Women found that even though the number of women in higher education has risen
significantly and is higher than that of men, women’s representation in the
sciences is very low.
The latest data on women in science and the
academic world was provided by Mina Bar-On, director-general of the Science,
Technology and Space Ministry, and Miriam Erez, head of that ministry’s council
for the advancement of women.
They said that although women students’
representation in higher education is higher than it used to be, it remains low,
especially in engineering, a major field in which the Technion
Israeli women students in biology, chemistry and medicine
comprise half of the students, but those learning engineering, mathematics and
physics are a minority, close to 20%.
Specifically, in mechanical
engineering women constitute only 9%; aeronautical engineering 16%; electronics
engineering 18%; mathematics, computer science and civil and environmental
engineering 22%; and 24% in physics.
According to the Science Ministry,
similar statistics about women students in science have been released by the
Among EU countries, Israel is rated “good” in the exact
science and engineering.
Peri said that women constituted one-third of
outstanding students at the Technion last year, but only one woman student was
accepted to its program for outstanding students in 2012 compared to eight
during the year before. Nevertheless, he added, the Technion works proactively
to advance women there and hold seminars for new women students and tries to
find women for the faculty.
In computer sciences and electronics, women
are only 30% of all students, compared to 42% in math and 63% in
Just 28% of university teaching staff in Israel are women, which
ranks Israel 30 out of 31 in the EU.
At the Technion, however, which
makes special efforts, there are 87 women on the teaching staff this year
compared to 82 last year.
Erez said that there are two critical points in
the career path of women in science – when they choose whether to take advanced
math and scientific subjects in high school and when they need to go abroad for
post-doctoral research. It is very hard for women with husbands and families to
move the whole family and funding is hard to get, she added.
his ministry is making special efforts to increase the number of women in
science professions through special programs that look for teenagers in the
periphery and try to persuade them to go into these fields. They also give them
role models and advisors to accomplish this, as well as general scholarships for
women master’s and doctoral degree students.
He concluded that the
subject of women in science is “of national importance to the society and
“The ministry has set a target to advance awareness of science
among girls and women and encourage them to go into professions in which there
is a shortage of personnel but that are critical to the future strength of