Similar to much of the Western world, women remain significantly underrepresented in Israel’s key engine of economic growth: the hi-tech sector.Just 8% of Israeli start-ups are led by women, according to the Israel Innovation Authority. Moreover, women comprise only 23% of core tech professions, including software engineers, and only 16% of hi-tech management. Bringing the fourth annual Fintech Week Tel Aviv conference to a close on Wednesday, leading female officials from Israel’s fintech scene called for greater gender neutrality in the industry.“The promotion of women is of great importance to me,” said Rahav Shalom-Revivo, FinTech and Cyber Innovations Manager at the Ministry of Finance. “I don’t like when we speak about female empowerment, I don’t like when we come from the old feminism angle, coming from being an underdog. We’re strong and we’ll help other women become strong as well, until we have gender neutrality.”For Shalom-Revivo, the empowerment of women is not about aspiring to an equal share of male and female workers. Rather, gender neutrality is about “having every role occupied by the right person, whether male or female.”Seeking to support and share knowledge, Shalom-Revivo co-created the Fintech Ladies IL community, which empowers women to advance their careers in the fintech industry. The community counts almost 400 members to date.“We started adding only women to the community, but is clear that changes in diversity can, and will, only be created together with everyone. Men are very welcome to join,” she said.The three-day conference, held at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and Barclays’s Rise Tel Aviv hub, brought together leaders from the international fintech industry and financial services to explore ways of working together and to tackle the challenges likely to be at the forefront of the industry in the coming years.“We need to put the absence of women in the fintech industry in focus. The next generation, or the following one, will understand that should be no differences here,” said Meital Raviv, head of Fintech & Innovation at KPMG in Israel. “It should be very natural for women to work in the same places, with same salaries. This is the change that we are looking for and not just focusing on women in the top positions.”In addition to the importance of striving for gender neutrality, a recent study by leading American consultancy firm McKinsey found a correlation between diversity and improved company performance. Based on the evaluation of over 1,000 companies in 12 countries, businesses in the top-quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 21% more likely to outperform on profitability and 27% more likely to have superior value creation.